Aastra restructures team to ramp up channel play

Aastra restructures team to ramp up channel play

Vendor gains a new channel manager, loses its managing director

Communications vendor, Aastra, has restructured its team, following the departure of its A/NZ managing director, John Ward.

A/NZ channel manager, Tony Warhurst, has stepped into a new role as its sales and marketing director. The vendor also hired Daniel Ng as its operations and financing director. Regional group president, Hugh Scholaert, said there was still a lot of work it needed to do in the Australian channel.

“Australia is mature market and one where we have an important presence and install base, but we’ve really failed over the last couple of years to capitalise on it,” Scholaert said. “In the past couple of years in Australia, we’ve been going like a ship without a keel and we’ve had lots of changes in management.”

Aastra has 65 partners in the Australian market, including Telstra. It is distributed through Anixter and Lan 1.

Scholaert said it didn’t have a sufficient number of channels to cover the territory property, and is seeking to add another national distributor to its stable.

Shortly, the vendor plans to launch its new channel program in the market along with new products such as its BluStar video conferencing, as well as 400 and 700 series IP products.

Aastra bought Ericsson’s enterprise PBX division in 2008. The new partner program reflects the integration of the acquisition into the vendor’s business.

“We have inherited some channels, but we haven’t managed them in a way that we could leverage their presence in the field. Part of it is that we don’t have a channel program, but it should be coming out shortly,” he said. “We have a good presence, but in Australia we’ve struggled and haven’t taken the bull by the horn.”

The partner program will contain different levels, incentives and training requirements.

Warhurst said there will be different requirements based on the types of products resellers want to launch.

“We’re trying to reward partners that are dedicated and focused on the Aastra products, so they’ll get more discounts to buy the product and make them more competitive,” Warhurst said.

The vendor is also looking to hire channel and sales managers in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney.

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