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For BT Africa, it's 'the right reach in the right places'

Val Moodley, BT in Africa

A challenge in the telco space is making sure the customer understands the digital transformation journey, says Val Moodley, BT in Africa.

As the old saying has it, 'be nice to people on your way up because you'll meet them on your way down'. While Moodley, head of strategic partnerships, isn't on her way down, she is thankful to those on her career path who shared their knowledge with her.

“I aim to do the same with individuals,” she tells The Margin.

Moodley got into the ICT arena almost by mistake.

“I took an aptitude test and based on this, studied programming,” she says, adding that she quickly realised this wasn’t her strong suit.

Her first job was at financial services company Liberty, as a secretary in the networking department. Here, she learned about technology, and where her passion for networking developed.

After Liberty she worked at the CCMA, Dimension Data, OmniLink, SAS, Cisco, Microsoft and MTN Business, among others, before joining BT. Here, she held positions in technical, operational, sales, marketing, channel, business development and management.

Was there a defining point in her career?

Driving force

“This would be my time at OmniLink. I was part of the team that was a start-up business, and I was therefore exposed to a much broader perspective of running a business, not just the technical side of things. I learned so much and was also exposed to many great leaders within the company, who I believe played a role in helping me grow into the professional I am today.”

Moodley says she loves coming into contact with a diverse range of people.

“I have a passion for finding out what motivates people and understanding what they are trying to achieve in their job roles. I also love the ability that I have - working in the technology space and at BT - to be part of enabling other companies to do what they need to do in terms of transforming digitally. I believe that being able to work in an environment that allows this is a privilege."

The job is not without its frustrations however, and Moodley says the approvals process sometimes delays rolling out a solution to a customer.

“Given how quickly technology continues to evolve, a challenge in the space today is making sure the customer understands the digital transformation journey, to avoid any confusion.”

Consequences of cloud

Reflecting on recent developments in the country’s tech sector, Moodley believes the widespread adoption of cloud - as well as the local instances of Microsoft Azure in 2018 - will have far reaching consequences.

“I believe this will change the industry and have a large impact on the sector, and we will likely see many global players following this, which will create good competition in the local market.”

With regards to IT trends she expects to see dying out over the next 18 months to two years, she foresees that single supplier providers will dissipate and become redundant, especially as more and more companies become multiple supplier focused or driven. “It is also likely that the talk of total outsourcing, where the service provider manages everything, will get questioned within the 18 months to two-year timeframe.”

It’s not just about price

Moodley’s advice to channel partners is to remember that it is not just about price - rather, it is about quality, delivery, support and partnering correctly to create a scenario in which everyone wins.

BT believes that to deliver a comprehensive and uniform set of valued services for customers globally, the company needs to build close partnerships with key organisations. “This enables us to have the right reach in the right places. We work with a range of different partners around the world including local network, telco and IT services organisations that partner with BT to extend their customer offering.”

BT’s partner programme is made up of three key pillars: global telco partners, technology partners and system integrators. “We work and partner with global telecom markets for broader presence, and partner with technology providers to utilise their partner programmes to ensure we can provide our customers with benefits and service. We also work closely with system integration companies, where we sell through them, with them and, or, to them. These partners use BT’s technology, white label and bundle it, and offer a full service to their customers.

What does she see as the most challenging trend in the channel today?

“My personal view is that the most challenging trend today is the challenge of choice – the more choice you have, the harder it is to make decisions. In essence, the challenge becomes about how customers and partners choose, especially with the amount of options available.”

What do partners need from vendors to be successful? She cites enablement, sharing best practice and providing insights from a global level.

With enablement, training is a key factor, she says, adding this must include highlighting broader trends, and their implications for the industry.

It was also important to share insights into best practice: how and why something worked (or didn’t) and were there any lessons to be learned from successful implementations.

Partners should also be encouraged to work together to close any possible gaps would also assist in offering the customer an end-to-end solution.

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