Avaya loses leading integrator in contract row

Avaya loses leading integrator in contract row

One of the country's largest Avaya integrators, Touchbase Australia, has parted ways with the communications vendor due to a contract dispute.

Touchbase managing director, Magnus Maynard, said he received a letter of termination from Avaya on February 28. It had been granted an extension to finish work it had already started but was now no longer an Avaya business partner.

"There were a few things within the new contract Avaya asked us to sign that precluded us from providing services to our client base," he said. "We wanted to change it but received a letter of termination."

The sticking point between the two companies -- which had been in partnership for five years -- rested on a customer support program known as Avaya Partner Support Services (PSS).

Maynard claimed it was non-negotiable and sought to restrict which customers Avaya partners could service. He said the vendor informed integrators at its Asia-Pacific partner summit that those who did not sign would be terminated.

Local Avaya boss, Carlton Taya, denied this and refuted suggestions Touchbase had been terminated. He said PSS was simply a way for Avaya to ensure channel partners could properly handle the implementation of its software.

"We have to ensure our channel is fully accredited. To use the tools developed by Avaya, partners have to agree to certain conditions," he said. "They can't go into areas they can't properly support."

Maynard claimed PSS would have seen Avaya directly servicing larger Touchbase customers.

"To me, it seems the Avaya strategy is to go direct to the client from a servicing and sales perspective. That is what resellers are supposed to do," he said. "It's a blatant conflict of interest."

Taya said about half of local Avaya business was direct but he defended the vendor's actions.

"Just to be clear, direct growth is coming from markets the channel can't get into like the public sector and large Australian companies," he said. "You never want to lose partners, but we have chosen to penetrate the top end directly. This is a consistent global strategy and we need people to be fully aligned with it."

Maynard said losing Avaya had seemed disastrous at first. However, Touchbase had since found great support from existing relationships with Cisco and Genesys, which also provided contact centre software.

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