CRN Pipeline 2018 was brought to life with the help of Telstra, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Rhipe and Aruba, companies which took the opportunity to present to the channel on their partner programs and new innovations.
Telstra calling for partners
Telstra’s Charlotte Schraa took to the stage to talk about the opportunities it wants to bring to new partners. The telecommunications giant called four different channel partners – Star21, Jasco Consulting, Modality Systems and Digital Armour – to the stage in Melbourne and Sydney to discuss how they have co-created solutions around its newly launched Telstra Calling for Office 365.
Charlotte Schraa: Our partner program is going through significant change. We’re growing our indirect channel sales at Telstra 20 percent, year-on-year, which is pretty strong growth, and we’re investing accordingly in our indirect channel. We have a strategy that’s supercharging indirect channel growth all the way through Telstra Enterprise. It means we’ve got teams, projects and programs focused on enabling our indirect channel partners.
Our partner model is a sell-with model. That means if you work with us, you’re also working with 1000 direct sellers through Australia and globally. Those teams work with you, to build pipeline and opportunity, and collaborate with you. The opportunity is for you to bring opportunities to Telstra, or for us to assign an opportunity to you.
Joel Dane, Telstra Global Products: Many probably don’t know, but Telstra has made significant steps to move to an agile product development methodology. What this means is rather than building a product for two years and then having it suddenly land in market, we now work in an agile development with our customers and our channel, and almost define our destination from a goal perspective, but iterate and develop as we go through that development cycle.
Charlotte Schraa: What does it feel like as a partner to go through that with us?
Jason McLintock, Jasco Consulting: Being able to provide feedback at every stage of development of the product, being able to provide technical input, to be able to provide from our delivery perspective has been good. And it’s been unique for being the first time with Telstra. I think as a model going forward, it’s going to be very, very positive overall.
Charlotte Schraa: What’s it been like for a long-time Telstra partner to see how we’re now working differently?
Keith Schultheiss, Star 21: When Star 21 first started, it was all about mobiles, fixed line phone systems, UC and complex data. We then moved, about four years ago, into a world of IT in terms of Office 365.
Our main focus was support, as well as providing the product. I think that’s the best part of how this has all worked out. Every time Telstra comes to us with a new product or a new service, we’re actually looking for ways to support that product and give the absolute best customer experience we can.
We’ve seen the change of attitude. We don’t just want to sell the product and then walk away. We stay with the customer for the long haul and help them through the change of technology.
Maria Padesetti, Digital Armour: When we got started it was probably the beginning of the channel program. And it was a lot more challenging six years ago. But I can see over the last year or two there has been a lot of investment. We’re getting a lot more support in the channel. And the engagement with the sales teams has been phenomenal. And being part of this program, which is co-creating products with Telstra, has just given us such an edge; we’ve got opportunities coming out of our ears.
Charlotte Schraa: What has the experience of co-creating the Telstra Calling for Office 365 been like for a Microsoft partner?
Justin Morris, Modality Systems: Last year, both Microsoft and Telstra approached us and said, “We’re looking for partners that understand this space really well, to come with us on a journey to help deliver some customer messaging.” And that was a really collaborative process.
It started out quite early and it started with roundtable discussions in Sydney, Melbourne and all over the county. It allowed us to impart feedback that we had seen in other parts of the world like the US and UK, Canada and Europe, where Modality has actually deployed this calling functionality before. We understood the customer needs as they proceeded through the process.