Director’s Choice Partner of the Year – Our Interview with O2
In July, O2 announced the winners of the Partner of the Year Awards 2020. The annual awards recognise and reward partners’ capability to provide consistently first-class support and service to small and medium-sized business customers, combined with a high level of digital knowledge and expertise.
This year, they also introduced a brand-new award, the ‘Director’s Choice Partner of the Year’, to shine a light on a partner who had excelled in a number of different areas, including sales growth, high digital performance and strong strategic alignment, as well as outstanding customer and employee feedback.
We were beyond thrilled to be awarded The Director’s Choice Partner of the Year 2020.
After the event, Jo was interviewed to get her reaction winning the award…
Firstly, tell us a little about Active Digital …
We started in the mid 1990s, which was a great time to get into mobile, because it was just starting to get some traction and businesses were starting to give their employees a mobile phone for the first time.
We felt that there was an opportunity for a business to business mobile communications company, with a primary focus on delivering a great customer experience. As new technologies have emerged over the 20 years that we’ve been operating, we’ve been on our own digital transformation journey, and now provide technology and support for businesses going through theirs.
What’s the best thing about working at Active Digital?
For a start, our offices are based within a local vineyard, which offers such a beautiful setting. If you can choose where you’re going to work, why not choose somewhere that makes you feel inspired and that feeds your creativity?
But our working environment is just one example of our workplace culture. We have about 30 staff who take part in regular team walks in the local area, where they can share their thoughts and ideas with their colleagues. We meet clients and celebrate successes in the local gastropub or at the golf club just up the road. We have a real community culture in what still feels like a family business, with the loyalty and trust that goes with it.
Although we’ve mainly been working from home this year, we’ve got a rota in place so that staff can go into the office periodically, because I think that’s a good and healthy thing for us all to do.
We trust our staff to work from wherever they want to, whether it’s the office, from home or their local cafe. We call it dynamic working, and we’ve been encouraging it for at least two years now. We want our staff to work at their best, and we fundamentally believe that we don’t need to have eyes on them all day in order to do that.
What does it mean to be part of the O2 Partner network?
We have a broad range of clients, ranging from start up through to large corporations running fleets of more than 2,000 devices. But we offer the same customer focused, concierge approach to each. And that’s one of the reasons why we chose to partner with O2 15 years ago – of all the networks, it was O2 that were really customer-focused, and it felt like a very genuine, natural fit for us.
15 years on, we still think we made the right choice and are very happy with that relationship.
We were the first partner to sign O2’s exclusive direct partner Network contract in 2015, and I think it demonstrates considerable credibility with clients that we are a Tier 1 partner. We’re very proud to be one of only 25 or 26 direct Partners across the UK and Ireland, especially as we know how carefully O2 chooses who they partner with.
How does it feel to be crowned O2’s Director’s Choice Partner of the Year 2020?
We learned that we’d been shortlisted for an award, but on the day of the virtual event, when the winners were announced, I was staying in a cottage in the Brecon Beacons with patchy wifi. I was logged in, but I didn’t hear Active Digital’s name mentioned at first. It was only right at the end, when they announced the new ‘Director’s Choice’ award, that I learned that we had won. It felt really humbling to be recognised in this way, and it definitely felt like the best award we could have won.
What are you most excited about that the future will bring?
Despite the really challenging times that we’ve had over the last few months, I can’t help but be excited that this is an amazing time to be in technology, supporting businesses with their digital transformation. When you have thousands of people working from home, it’s time to focus on the speed and reliability of their home broadband, the security of their devices, and their ability to communicate and collaborate with colleagues and clients.
Exciting as the technology itself is, what really motivates me is to find solutions to some of the personal, human challenges that come with digital transformation. For example, in a business environment where remote working is the default, how can managers be confident that their team is fit, both physically and from a mental health perspective? It’s a challenge that every business needs to face.
Internally, we have developed our own wellbeing app, which helps us all to track anxiety levels, fatigue, sleeping patterns and support needs. For example, some of our team are uploading their lunchtime workouts, to encourage others to get moving and get active outside. It’s such a small thing. But if we can do it for our own team, then we know we can help other businesses implement it too.