Jola Cloud Solutions' Blog

Why are there so few female MDs in the channel?

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 25-Nov-2020 13:43:15

As a Director of a channel-only business, I am often asked why there are so few females in senior positions in our sector. It is a hot topic and something I have wondered about many times.

Some say the problem starts at school with fewer females being encouraged to study STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. According to recent UCAS data provided by HESA, 35% of STEM students in higher education are women and only 15% are studying computer sciences.

Others say recruitment is a problem, that not enough females are applying for advertised roles in our sector. 2019 Workforce statistics state that there are now over one million women in STEM in the UK, however the proportion of tech roles filled by women has flatlined at 16% since 2009.

So, what is going wrong? Why are we attracting fewer women than other sectors? Is it our recruitment policies? Or is it something else entirely?

Is there a myth surrounding our industry that you have to be a techie to be involved in it? Or are other sectors more appealing to women?

Maybe we should also look at promoting the opportunities available in our sector to students, apprentices, graduates and professionals in other sectors? Could we do more to mentor and promote those we attract? By working closely with CEOs/MDs/CFOs/CTOs/CMOs could we develop a more diverse management team?

The channel is made up of technical and sales professionals growing their own businesses. Many developed their careers at large telcos, others have only ever worked for themselves.

Looking at the marital status of individuals running organisations across all sectors, many are married with families. The majority have someone at home they can rely on to support them.

Maybe we should be looking at work/life balance and shared responsibilities at home to achieve equality at work. Maybe this shift would help avoid burnout and improve decision making, resulting in more profitable businesses and happier home lives across all sectors?

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Topics: Business

Digital Signage

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 25-Nov-2020 13:31:09

Demand for digital signage is increasing in the run up to Christmas, with many supermarkets investing in digital advertising solutions in their stores. Digital advertising boards require 24/7, reliable connectivity that can be rapidly deployed. Typically the advertising screens belong to a third party who are unable to use a fixed broadband connection. MSPs are looking for mobile broadband solutions they can control and manage across multiple sites.

Jola’s Solution

Jola offers a unique solution for MSPs which includes intelligent routers with a wide range of data connectivity options. Jola’s portal, Mobile Manager, gives MSPs the ability to order and manage mobile SIMs and eSIMs globally.

Jola is a global IoT MVNO, providing the UK’s first multi-network eSIM to the channel, offering the best possible service in any location. Our eSIMs offer value for money and have a UK IP address.

Jola’s Intelligent 4G Routers are designed for mobile broadband and large scale IoT rollouts. Devices are pre-configured with the Jola App, allowing auto-configuration. As a result, there is no need for manual configuration on site. Routers can be delivered to store, ready to install, saving valuable time and set-up costs.

To bolster security, Jola can add additional safety measures, to prevent a third parties accessing the routers. Firewalls can be implemented to restrict WiFi connected devices from reaching router management interfaces, whilst leaving the router able to reach the internet. Secondary Ethernet interfaces can be enabled for router management, so the only way to access the router GUI can be via a connected LAN cable. We can also hide the SSIDs to ensure routers are not receiving constant connection requests by third parties over WiFi.

Jola has partners deploying pre-configured, intelligent 4G connectivity for digital signage in stores all over the UK and Europe, negating the need for site surveys and manual configuration.

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Topics: 4G, Intelligent 4G Routers

What happens when connectivity gets 10x faster and 10x cheaper?

Posted by Andrew Dickinson on 18-Nov-2020 09:01:07

12 months ago UK, 30-day ex-VAT wholesale 4G data was c30p/GB. Today it’s c3p/GB. Average tariff-based prices.

If you’re a connectivity reseller you probably just stopped reading this. Either because you already know about 4G and are slightly miffed the cat’s out of the bag, or you’re researching 4G suppliers.

The pandemic has had the same effect on mobile data usage as it’s had on Microsoft Teams. When organisations send all their employees home, and Openreach can't deploy engineers to install or fix broadband, what are the alternatives?

Jola Partners pivoting into 4G, uncovered opportunities in their customer bases, far beyond homeworkers. 200,000+ SIMs for education, NHS, digital signage, buses, taxis, car parks – the list goes on.

Where the 4G SIM is in a fixed location, adding an external antenna can boost the speed 10x, and at over 100Mb/s 4G is suddenly a viable backup for Ethernet. 

When 5G is available on the tower, resellers have a profitable upgrade path to offer customers.

Average latency on 5G is typically 1ms vs 4G at 40ms and ADSL at 15ms. So there are reasons beyond speed, to upgrade.

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Topics: 4G

Intelligent Connectivity - the key to resellers' IoT success.

Posted by Andrew Dickinson on 18-Nov-2020 08:50:09

IoT/M2M is the hottest growth sector in ICT. c7bn devices will be 20bn-30bn globally by 2030.

How can the Channel ride the IoT wave, without committing to a high risk ‘build it and they will come’ strategy?

Common to every IoT project is M2M – connectivity. This is the biggest opportunity, but presently the domain of MNOs offering single network SIMs and a BYOD solution.

Intelligent Connectivity breaks this dominance.

In an IoT project the endpoints need sensors, managed by a gateway, attached to a 4G/5G router. Significant processing power is also required to collect data and allow remote management. Every deployment is different so there must be the capability to write custom apps onto these devices.

eSIM releases the MNOs stranglehold on the M2M market. Analysts predict there will be more than 2bn eSIMs deployed in IoT projects within 5 years.

Since Jola launched their combined IoT Router/PC/Gateway in March 2020 we have had thousands of orders. MSPs are shipping our devices worldwide, pre-loaded with a 450-network eSIM that downloads a config as soon as it’s plugged in.

We recently rolled out 600 units in weeks for a faultless digital signage project.

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Topics: 4G, IoT, M2M

What is the Internet of Things Market (IoT Market)?

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 04-Nov-2020 14:10:29

The Internet of Things is an innovative automation and data analytics operating system that captures networking, sensing nodes, big data, and artificial intelligence, to deliver complete orders for service. IoT systems have applications across industries through their unique flexibility and ability to be suitable in any environment. They enhance data collection, automation, operations, and much more through smart devices and powerful enabling technology. The IoT key features are the use of Artificial Intelligence, Connectivity, Active Engagement, and Small Devices.  The core benefits offered are improved security, flexibility and compliance. The potential is not just allowing multiple devices simultaneously but leveraging the enormous volumes of actionable data that can automate different business processes.

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Topics: IoT

Physical versus Virtual Events

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 04-Nov-2020 13:57:24

As a channel, many of us are missing the personal contact we are used to with colleagues, suppliers and customers. Some of us are really missing our exhibitions and awards evenings, as they are a chance to network and celebrate together.

The reality is that due to current local restrictions, many of our events are now virtual.  

From a marketing prospective there are pros and cons of both virtual and physical events for organisers, sponsors and attendees.

Physical Events

Attendees commit their time and expenses to attend. They have a reason to attend, something to research, people to meet and plan their time accordingly. Exhibitors know this and make themselves as visible as possible to meet as many prospects as they can, to recruit new partners and win new business. Organisers put the work in to bring this all together, providing educational seminars and sponsorships to deliver on requirements for both parties.

The great advantage of physical events is the face-to-face time spent with new resellers. Resellers can provide a quick overview about their requirements, get a feel for products and pricing and even see a quick demo of a portal. Suppliers can quickly establish needs and the size of the opportunity and decisions to proceed or dis-engage are made there and then. These face-to-face meetings can also happen over coffee, lunch or even in the bar, where direct questions are posed and answered, saving time on both sides.

The exhibition environment provides resellers with an education on current opportunities and the ability to compare potential suppliers in one afternoon in quick succession. Exhibitors get a chance to showcase their USPs and to talk more around the current opportunities and successful use cases they have been involved with.

Virtual Events

These events require less commitment and can easily be missed if something else comes up, especially if they know recordings may be available post-event. As attendees have not travelled and left the office for a day, they can easily get distracted with other business.

That said, virtual events are a great way of learning about market opportunities and comparing suppliers without leaving your laptop. You don’t need to worry about travel time or lunches, you are able to arrange quick meetings virtually, without leaving space in-between to find your next meeting.

For suppliers, the obvious difference with a digital event is costs. Physical events tend to cost more, but don't underestimate the cost of hosting a digital event.

You can speak to your audience without leaving home and don’t require an exhibition stand or merchandise. You also have the opportunity to gather further information from your attendees, such as engagement and can track poll question results and questions posed.

From my prospective, both types of events have their place but there is no comparison to being in a room full of your industry peers. The relationship building you can do face-to-face is valuable and much more difficult to achieve in the same timescales virtually. I look forward to getting back to live events but in the meanwhile am grateful for the opportunities to speak and meet with resellers virtually.

With any event, the more you put in, the more you get out.

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Topics: marketing

The importance of maintaining good company values

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 14-Oct-2020 11:36:15

Having clear company values helps to ensure that employees are working towards the same goals. Corporate values shape company culture and impact business strategy. They help to create a purpose, improve team cohesion, and create a sense of commitment in the workplace.

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Topics: Business

Adapt to Survive

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 14-Oct-2020 11:28:49

Given the quick spread of COVID-19 and restrictions on movement, our daily lives have required more time at home and more usage of data for work and leisure. Some of our customers working in sectors unable to trade during lockdown have been adversely affected.

Resellers in our sector have experienced a slow-down in orders for core products, such as broadband and Ethernet, whilst others have seen an increase in 4G solutions for homeworkers, keyworkers and students.

An easy product for resellers to add to their portfolio to meet current demand for reliable internet connectivity, is 4G. Typical packages include a robust 4G router, with an external antenna and an unlimited data SIM. Most people don’t appreciate how fast 4G is. 4G is on average three times faster than 3G and by adding an antenna, speeds can be increased ten-fold.

Some companies are also offering site surveys to recommend the best network signal strength and an installation service.

A good way to market these packages is to add them to your website and allow your customers to order them directly. You may wish to drive traffic to this web page by investing in online adverts and Google AdWords. In addition, you may wish to communicate the package to existing customers via email and telephone campaigns.

The best way to track the success of the campaign is to monitor traffic to your web page, investment in marketing, emails sent, calls made, responses received, and orders placed.

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Topics: 4G

What does the channel need right now?

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 14-Oct-2020 11:20:11


We need to be in constant contact with our customers right now to assess their changing requirements. By understanding the challenges, you can tailor solutions to meet their needs, and in the process increase ARPU.  You may have customers who are struggling with slow broadband at home and 4G may be the solution. 4G routers are available with antennas and unlimited data SIMs, offering reliable, fast, internet connectivity which is plug-and-play. You may need to support customers struggling financially or looking to add an online or delivery service to their businesses. By understanding and meeting the needs of existing customers, you are in a good position to retain them and increase loyalty moving forwards.


We need new revenue streams at the moment to help us off-set other areas of the business, which may be suffering due to COVID. Thinking about new products and solutions which could be packaged for existing customers is a good place to start. Do you currently sell 4G? It is a product that is easy to add to your portfolio and in great demand from homeworkers and keyworkers in the current climate. It can be ordered and provisioned within a white-label portal, easy to bill and easy to monitor.

Do you currently supply the NHS? Doctors surgeries and pop-up hospitals are looking for telecommunications and IT support. Nurses and carers travelling to see patients at home need reliable SIM cards in personal alarms and smart devices to complete their reports. Paramedics need reliable 4G connectivity in tablets to update their patient records on the move. Police need reliable SIM cards in push-to-talk radio and body-worn cameras. In the public sector reliable internet connectivity is required for smart lighting and smart parking solutions. Are you on the Government Framework to supply telecommunications and IT? Now is a great time to innovate and cross-sell and upsell into your existing base. Do you sell IoT solutions? IoT is now commonplace in all industries, measuring and tracking devices need SIM cards, you may be able to supply.


What we need right now is differentiated products with good margin potential that are easy to sell, provision, support and bill. We need to invest in opportunities we have a good chance of winning and promote our successes with a view to winning new customers in the same sector.

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Topics: Jola Cloud Solutions Ltd

Companies encouraged to address burn-out

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 07-Oct-2020 13:02:41

A recent article written by Sheryl Sandberg in the Wall Street Journal, suggested that there is a crisis looming in corporate America with more than one in four women considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce. This got me to thinking, is the same thing happening here in the UK and if it does happen, what effect will that have?

LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co have run a study over the last six years and published their findings in the 2020 Women in the Workplace Report. It showed slow but measurable progress for women in all levels of management and that these slow gains could be wiped out within a single year, as up to two million women are thinking of leaving their jobs.

In the channel we are starting to see a rise in female leadership, but during COVID many women have felt the strain of extra responsibility and worry. This has amplified a need to work longer and harder than their male counterparts at work, as they feel they are held to a higher standard and judged more harshly if they fail. Many do not feel comfortable sharing their concerns, or even communicating their childcare issues, to avoid being perceived negatively at work.

Today women are under immense pressure at home and at work, taking the lion’s share of the childcaring, relative caring and domestic tasks. The American statistics show that among senior level leaders with partners, 63% of women have one who works full time, compared with 35% of men. Senior level women are therefore 1.5 times as likely as men to consider downshifting or leaving. The top reason they give is burnout. Ethnic minorities and those with additional conditions are finding it even tougher, as they often feel excluded and don’t always feel they can properly express themselves.

If I think of my own friendship group of senior managers in large corporates around the UK. I am the only one left working full-time with a family. Some went part-time, others gave up work completely and cited burn-out as the reason. In our own organisations in the channel, working from home has blurred the lines for many, and we are seeing illness levels increasing.

If we don’t address these issues, we will continue to see absence levels increase and employee satisfaction decrease, which could lead to us losing some of our most valuable employees, who would be hard to replace.

If we come up with a solution now, we can increase productivity, employee satisfaction and retain the progress we are making to achieve diverse and inclusive teams.

We need to look at working from home and how we can make this work for our employees. Encourage regular breaks and regular hours, as well as a good balance of two-way communication and trust to work alone. What I think we need is good managers. Socially I think we need to look at the balance of responsibilities in the home and support our partners for healthier work life balances.

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Topics: jola

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