Gamma is one of the largest suppliers of data, voice, and mobile products across the United Kingdom. Over the years, they’ve gained a reputation for providing top of the range communication products to customers of all shapes and sizes, both through their direct model and with the help of their wide network of devoted channel partners. Currently, about 80% of Gamma’s revenue is generated through their channel partners across the nation.
To find out how this particular company is approaching the opportunities of 2018, and overcoming the challenges of 2017 and beyond, I sat down for a talk with Daryl Pile, the Managing Director of Gamma.
What are Your Key Takeaways from 2017?
2017 has been an incredibly interesting year from a UC and telephony perspective. With consolidation and disruption around every corner, I was interested to see how Gamma have responded to the problems and trends and this year has delivered. Daryl started by telling me that he believes the channel is becoming the incumbent for IP services or cloud services in terms of hosted and SIP trunking solutions.
“Today, customers are focusing a lot more on hosted telephony services and SIP trunking, and they’re choosing our channel to do that. We’re always striving to provide the highest level of customer satisfaction to our customers and our channel partners, which is why we’re leading the way right now in the UK.”
“I think one of the things that I’ve really noticed in the last quarter, however, is how quickly the channel has begun to consider the benefits of software as a service and infrastructure as a service.”
In terms of services and products, the things that have been driving Gamma have been SIP trunking and hosted solutions. Daryl suggested that those points will continue to be important in the year ahead, but that there are new opportunities emerging too.
“I think there’s a blurring happening in the lines between IT and communication services, and that convergence is happening much faster than we had predicted.”
What Challenges and Opportunities Do You predict for 2018?
As new technology emerges on the market, one of the biggest changes over the last year has happened around the convergence between partners through consistent consolidation. Mitel purchased ShoreTel, and Cisco bought BroadSoft. I asked Daryl what he thought would be some of the biggest challenges and opportunities arising in this new marketplace.
“I think consolidation will continue to happen, but I don’t think it will speed up in such a way that we’ll end up with a smaller net number of names out there. The market is changing constantly, and new players are emerging all the time, so I think there’ll continue to be a balance there. However, I think the Cisco and BroadSoft thing was a smart move. I think it addresses the importance of being able to work together in today’s community.”
Daryl went on to say that when Gamma is speaking to their channel partners and customers, they always portray an attitude of being “lovers, not fighters”. 2017 has seen a lot of change in the way vendors and partners work together with each other, and that’s something that Gamma has experienced for themselves. It’s not just about delivering collaboration to customers anymore, but working in different camps with different people as a reseller too.
“I think there’s a lot of service providers out there that can offer a lot of different things, but I think it won’t work anymore for channel partners to be so broad with the way they focus their time and selling strategies.”
“I think collaboration and partnerships will be important, but it will also be crucial for resellers to start looking at their network and thinking how they can serve a particular niche by homing in on what their customers want. If you really want to differentiate yourself, then you need to think about working with one or two providers to make real success happen in the vertical you’re most interested in.”
How Are You Supporting your Partners Right Now?
The marketplace for partners is changing as more people move towards a cloud-focused model, rather than sticking to CAPEX structures. Back in 2016, we were already talking about the end of 2016, and now we’re getting to the point where about 50% of the install base is using some kind of non-CAPEX strategy. Gamma is helping their partners to explore new and different models and find what works for them.
“I think a lot more people are making transitions now, but most importantly, because enough of the channel has already gone through the process, it’s not as scary anymore. They’re meeting people at networking events and finding out how they can go through the change in a similar way to other businesses. I think that will continue in 2018.”.
What’s Your Best tip for Channel Partners?
The most dominant solution on the market right now is SIP trunking, and Gamma is happy to be one of the favourite suppliers for that. However, when it comes to helping their partners stand out in the marketplace, their advice is simple enough.
“It’s about being able to differentiate yourself in this space, and it’s not so much what you’ve got, as what you do with it. There are many service providers for the SME channel to choose from, with a narrowing delta of features between them. It means as a channel partner, the challenge is best met by the way you take your product to your target market.”
Daryl suggested that partners should be considering how they can: “form a proposition that includes case studies, demos, sales collateral, service options, and commercials that all focus on solving common challenges within their customer vertical or industry. These will demonstrate a better understanding of the customers community and pedigree than your competitors.”
When it comes to helping channel partners succeed and connect with their customers, Gamma believe that “As a supplier to the channel, the accessibility, ease of use, and service quality of our products will continue to rise in prominence.”
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