We spoke with Anne Sheehan, Vodafone Ireland Enterprise Director, to learn more about her work and the company’s priorities for 2017. She also told us a little about the launch of their Unified Communications One Net Business product.

What is your background?
I am a Clare native and hold a Degree in Business Studies, specialising in Accounting and Finance, and a Graduate Diploma in Computers, both from the University of Limerick. I joined Vodafone Ireland in September 2013 as Enterprise Director from IBM where I was Vice President of Sales for the Nordic Region.

Does it seem like a logical progression to what you do now?
Yes, I very much think so. I have over 16 years’ experience in the ICT sector and prior to being appointed Vice President of Sales at IBM, I held a variety of senior positions including Head of Channel, Head of Services and Territory Leader.

I suppose you could say I have worked my way up the ranks. This industry excites me and I thrive on the challenge of being able to offer our customers unique solutions and services that meet their changing and expanding needs. The pace of the environment is both challenging and rewarding, and means that I am always learning new things.

Elevator pitch for your current role
As Enterprise Director for Vodafone Ireland, I have responsibility for the company’s Enterprise division and a sizeable staff across sales, commercial, operations, product and marketing.

My role includes overseeing Vodafone’s integrated next-generation fixed and mobile solutions in addition to its cloud-based platforms, machine to machine services and professional ICT support. I oversee new product rollout across our total communications portfolio, ensure the successful delivery of customer care programmes as well as always working towards future proofing the Vodafone Ireland enterprise business. A big part of my job is also to look after my fantastic staff enabling them with the tools and support they need to deliver and excel in their roles.

What are you excited about for 2017?
We have put a big focus on unified communications this year and ensuring that we are fully supporting Irish business by delivering technology solutions that enhance efficiencies and encourage growth. This week we have announced the official launch of our One Net Business unified communications solution.

IoT and Narrow Band IoT (NB-IoT) are also a priority for us this year. Our NB-IoT network is currently live and in a testing phase with commercial availability this summer. This means that Vodafone will ensure that Ireland is among the first countries in the world to bring NB-IoT to market. NB-IoT is a technology that will cost-effectively connect millions of devices to the internet, deliver extended coverage capability, longer battery life and will be a key enabler of the Smart Cities of the future.

We continue to invest in our network and communications infrastructure and will spend €500m in Ireland over the next three years across mobile, broadband, fibre to the home, network infrastructure and enhanced customer care systems.

Earlier this year, Vodafone announced that it is the first Irish operator to achieve Gigabit speeds on its mobile network. This speed was achieved on the live mobile network in Dublin by transmitting files to a mobile phone over the air in real life conditions.

Vodafone Ireland is also making great strides towards Gigabit speeds on its mobile network by being first to market to introduce new 4G Evolution features that will increase speeds and capacity of its 4G+ network. These features speed up information transfer rates by up to 30% in download and 50% in upload allowing customers to, for example, send files to the Cloud with transfer speeds of up to 112Mbps or download content with speeds of up to 300Mbps, radically changing how customers can use and view content.

How important is flexibility to your customers to enable their ways of working?
It is hugely important. As society evolves we need to constantly adapt to new ways of living and working. Flexibility around how and where we work is becoming increasingly important.

We recently undertook research to coincide with our One Net Business launch to get an understanding of current trends within the SME sector in Ireland. The results were very interesting. A significant portion of SMEs are recognising that improved technology can play a critical role in strengthening their business which is really great to hear. 63% of SMEs provide mobiles, tablets or desk phones to its employees, and nearly three quarters (73%) said that they and their staff have a high to moderate level of flexibility where they work.

As a business, we work closely with our customers to ensure we provide technology solutions that best serve their needs. We were struck by the fact that 25% of employees in the SMEs surveyed said that they have personally missed a call or email which resulted in a missed business opportunity. Nearly half (47%) said that they do not have unified communications solutions with the majority of that group agreeing that a unified communications product would improve communications between their business and their customers / clients. 35% said that it would be likely to improve communication between employees in their business.

Does Vodafone have any exciting upcoming activity planned in this regard?
This week we officially launched One Net Business (ONB) to address what Vodafone Ireland sees as a gap in the unified communications market.

Globally, ONB is being used by 4.3 million customers across 30 countries, now including Ireland.

ONB offers customers a simple, cost effective way of combining all their communication needs into one cloud based solution, hosted locally here in Ireland.

This means that our customers, employees and suppliers can be seamlessly connected whether they’re in the office or on the move. The ONB solution provides future-proofed technology that allows users to delegate and control customer queries while ensuring an enhanced customer experience without the expensive tech infrastructure.

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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