‪Vodafone is betting that it knows enough about its SME customers to sell them a set of curated apps.‬

The UK-based operator announced last month that it plans to launch a marketplace for business apps in a number of markets alongside US-based platform-as-a-service provider AppDirect.‬

Vodafone Italy was the first to launch the service in October, with Germany, South Africa and the UK set to follow over the next few months.‬

Speaking to European Communications, Vodafone Group Enterprise Product Management Director Jeni Mundy reveals Italian SMEs have a choice of just 8-10 apps.‬

“Vodafone Italy has been very proactive at building propositions for SME customers that wrap together connectivity solutions and apps and services,” she says.‬

“It’s a complex market, there’s a lot of software players and resellers and for SMEs it can be a bit overwhelming.‬

“What we’re trying to do is make it simpler and easier by building solutions for them where they can get all of their needs in an industry specific bundle.”‬

The apps on offer are a mix of “global” apps, such as Office365 and SugarCRM, that Vodafone has struck deals with to launch across all of its markets, and “local” apps.‬

In Italy, Vodafone is targeting the hotel industry but Mundy says other verticals that the operator expects to target include retail, professional services, restaurants, construction and manufacturing.‬

Each market will determine which industries they target depending on local conditions.‬

SME customers choose their apps on a web portal and pay on a per seat, per licence basis; the costs are rolled into their existing Vodafone bill.‬

Although AppDirect is managing the underlying platform, Mundy reveals Vodafone is not going to offer AppDirect’s catalogue of apps from other vendors.‬

“We wanted to make sure we are not just sitting there with a marketplace full of hundreds of apps,” she says.‬

“We think that would be overwhelming, that’s not our strategy.‬

“What we want to be able to do is say there are certain targeted verticals that we want to help succeed and we will build a very focused set of capabilities for them along with some horizontal applications that we know a lot of businesses will use.”‬

The risk would appear to be that Vodafone will end up dictating the apps that SMEs can access.‬

Mundy says Vodafone has worked with customers “over the last two to three years” to understand their needs and is now ready to “systemise” what it has learned.‬

“Over time we can expand but I think start small, learn as you go and then grow,” she says.‬

“We’re trying to cut through the noise.”‬

Including sales to SMEs, Vodafone saw like-for-like revenues in Italy rise 1.3 percent to €1.5 billion in the three months to July, its most recent financial results.‬

The market, which is dominated by Telecom Italia, is set to be shaken up by the merger of Three and Wind next year.‬

The transaction was completed yesterday (Monday) and promised to shake up the retail and enterprise markets. ‬

Mundy declined to discuss specific targets for Vodafone Digital Marketplace.‬

“I will be happy if our customers can run their business wherever the work is, not where their office happens to be.”‬

More Features

Opinion: Could second brands become operators’ training ground? Opinion: Could second brands become operators’ training ground? By Jonathan Plant, Senior Marketing Manager, Openet More detail
Opinion: Cloudification is coming, but processes and culture must change Opinion: Cloudification is coming, but processes and culture must change By Santiago Madruga, VP of Communications Service Providers market, Red Hat EMEA More detail
Vodafone’s IoT head hits out at "annoying" criticisms of operator role Vodafone’s IoT head hits out at The claim that connectivity is a commodity has existed in the mobile industry for some time and has recently extended itself to the Internet of Things. More detail
Telcos bet on eSports to get down with the kids Telcos bet on eSports to get down with the kids In some circles, attempting to shrug off the image of being a bunch of crusty old network engineers by buying an eSports team would be regarded as the very definition of having a midlife crisis. More detail
Deutsche Telekom’s Head of Europe rails against “really dangerous” regulatory mindset Deutsche Telekom’s Head of Europe rails against “really dangerous” regulatory mindset Complaining about the regulatory landscape has been de rigueur in European telecoms for many a long year. More detail
    

 

European Communications is now
Mobile Europe and European Communications

  

From June 2018, European Communications magazine 
has merged with its sister title Mobile Europe, into 
Mobile Europe and European Communications.

No more new content is being published on this site - 

for the latest news and features, please go to:
www.mobileeurope.co.uk 

 

@eurocomms

Other Categories in Features