Avaya will drop transactional resellers for high-value partners

Vendor taking focus away from volume ahead of partner program relaunch

Avaya's Richard Steranka and Todd Parsons.

Avaya's Richard Steranka and Todd Parsons.

Avaya has been moving through an executive shuffle, which has seen the emergence of a revamped partner program.

The unified communications (UC) vendor's executive changes appear more coincidental than mandated, but has seen the exit and entrance of key decision-makers on the global level and within Australian and New Zealand (A/NZ).

In late January, former Avaya A/NZ managing director, Tim Gentry, left the company’s location operations and was replaced by former Equinix Australia boss, Tony Simonsen.

More recently, Avaya appointed Todd Parsons as channel director for the region on the back of his experience with former employers NetApp, Sun Microsystems, and HP.

These appointments came with a new channel strategy which centres on a shift from volume- to value-based engagement. It won’t solely be about revenue moving forward, but underpinned with an emphasis on ‘relevance’.

“We have a lot of partners with which we don’t interact enough,” Parsons told ARN.

“We’re going to focus on the core set with which we do [interact frequently]."

“Our message to partners is relevance. As a vendor, we need to think about the number of relationships we have and the cost of doing business with the channel. Resellers need to think about how many vendor relationships and technologies they want to take to market.”

Yes, this means consolidation; Avaya confirmed it will cut ties with a number of resellers, but it did not reveal any specific forecast.

Parsons claims it is about the finding the balance between strong market coverage and capability to deliver, versus having a viable partner community that sees value in the Avaya business.

It’s a message being pushed down from Avaya HQ in California; Avaya worldwide partner organisation vice-president, Richard Steranka, claims that the decision to reorganise its channel is one which partners support.

“The feedback I’ve been getting from our committed partners is that they are finding more benefits,” Steranka told ARN.

“We have always had a set of transactional partners. They do a deal, then disappear. Any given year we see so many arrive and so many leave. Continuing to support a transactional channel isn’t in the best interest of us or our high-value partners.”

Why? According to Steranka, Avaya was experiencing a fundamental flaw in that it was selling a full solutions stack, but 62 per cent of partners couldn’t do so as they did not have the competencies; only 5 per cent had three or more and were actually able to deliver.

Speaking to a number of channel partners at the Avaya Partner Connection Day in Sydney on Thursday, Simonsen said the vendor has spent $6 billion globally over the past six years to shift the way in which it does business; ‘relevance’ again being the dominant buzz word.

This is a component of Avaya’s ‘Core + Four’ strategy; UC and contact centre (CC) sits at the core, stemming out to applications, Cloud, networking, and video. The latter four act as the growth engine for the vendor and its channel.

‘Core + Four’ will form the basis of Avaya’s revamped Connect partner program which will be relaunched on October 1 to coincide with the start of its 2015 fiscal year.

The revised Avaya Connect will include changes to the requirements for achieving silver, gold, and platinum-level status, and the introduction of six new Solutions Experts designations (enterprise UC and CC, midmarket UC and CC, networking, and video).

The program will support both capital and operational expenditure (capex and opex) sales models to support on-premises, public, and hybrid Cloud models.

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Tags unified communicationsresellerUCvendorcontact centreCCconsolidationchannelAvayapartner programAvaya Connect

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