In this interview Editor, David Dungay, talks to newly appointed Keith Wilkinson, Wholesale Account Director, about FluidOne’s Channel strategy moving forwards and how they are enabling their partners to succeed by underpinning everything they do with quality networks.
Comms Business Magazine (CBM): What are your Channel ambitions over the next 12 months? Can you share your Channel strategy?
Keith Wilkinson (KW): Internet Service Providers have long faced the difficult challenge of differentiating themselves from one another. It’s never just about price, even if it sometimes feels this way. To stand out in today’s competitive (and exciting) marketplace requires an unprecedented equilibrium of leading commercials, service automation, carrier choice and disruptive technology.
We help partners stand out by giving them access to a platform with an unrivalled choice of DSL and Ethernet carriers; for every major player like BT Wholesale, TalkTalk Business, and COLT there is a disruptor such as Virtual1, M247 and Gigaclear. In total, we have over 25 suppliers for data connectivity available through a self-service portal delivered via our multi-accredited core network. Through our geographically SDN (Software Defined Network), we can offer diversity and deliver solutions in ways that other businesses simply can’t compete with.
Our goal is to ensure our wholesale and reseller community has immediate access to this platform. We do this through great customer service, dedicated pro-active account management and by breaking down barriers to sale. For example, we’ve just removed the 95th percentile billing models that have traditionally made selling DSL a challenging venture.
CBM: You are doing a lot on your layer 2/3 propositions at present. Can you take us through those… what does it all mean for partners?
KW: For the first time, FluidOne has launched a dedicated Layer-3 network. What this means is that our partners, who currently don’t have their own network, is they can make the most of our carrier-grade Juniper & Cisco core. This enables them to access the very best commercials from all our suppliers and deliver services immediately to their clients. The added benefit is that if in the future the partner wants to take more control then we are able to support them in building a dedicated network and transitioning their existing customers over to it.
Alongside our new dedicated Layer-3 network, we continue to strengthen our Layer-2 product offerings and operate a SD-WAN network, allowing for true end-to-end control, not just edge optimisation. It’s also worth mentioning that SD-WAN technology, the biggest buzz word in our industry, has been available to FluidOne partners since 2008.
CBM: What are the major barriers your partners are experiencing making gains in this market? How are you helping them overcome these?
KW: Challenger networks such as Gigaclear and Cityfibre have ensured that data usage has continued to surge in recent years. FluidOne is helping partners to respond in two simple ways.
By scrapping 95th percentile usage on our BT Wholesale and TalkTalk Business DSL estates allows our partners to have a trust cost which does not vary with usage. This is allowing our partners to complete head-to-head ruling out shock costs and monthly host pipe charges.
FluidOne continues to grow The Data Delivery Network, our industries’ answer to the National Grid, aiming to deliver the broadest possible array of last-mile Ethernet providers and technologies. Our wholesalers can benefit from providers such as Sky Network Services, Virtual 1 and Gigaclear through a single interconnect with FluidOne that also offers a full API, automation, business support and marketing collateral.
Alongside this, we have just launched a transition fund service for partners. This gives partners cash back for every tail activated on FluidOne’s network, making it simple and cost beneficial to move or build a base.
CBM: With so much choice for connectivity in the market are you able to offer something truly different for partners?
KW: Our team are specialists in working with our supply chain and have a wealth of knowledge. With choice often comes confusion and FluidOne removes this through simple clear invoices, without rebates or delayed incentives and across a single account.
We know that the managing your back office means spending less time with customers and less time selling and so we adopt a simple and clear invoicing strategy to help you reconcile your accounts quickly and easily.
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