Data networking vendor Avaya is assuring continued commitment to channel partners as it rolls out its new virtual private network (VPN) strategy, designed to overcome retardants to the uptake of voice/data converged products.
Having recently released its end-to-end voice/data VPN solution to the market, Avaya has identified some hurdles that impede the smooth sale of its products into businesses.
"Because [data networking] companies are traditionally taken care of by two separate partners, one for voice solution and one for data network, an issue has developed over who becomes responsible for the converged solution," said Carlton Taya, Avaya's director of channels and strategic planning in Australia and New Zealand.
Taya believes it is more difficult for data resellers to get their heads around the voice aspect of a converged network than it is for voice resellers to adopt the data element. Avaya is therefore offering training and education for voice partners to bring them up to speed. "We have identified this as the best and quickest route to market," Taya said. "Data resellers moving into voice has been tried and failed."
However, the opportunity for sales into the virginal customer base of data resellers is forcing Avaya to take on new partners at the top end.
"There is a whole market out there in the enterprise sector that isn't comprised of Avaya customers, but already have a relationship with the data providers," says Taya. "We have to turn to them to leverage off their customer base."
The other element retarding the growth of VPN converged solutions is the challenge of convincing the customer to upgrade significant portions of their network. "I don't believe the channel is sophisticated enough at the moment to articulate the cost benefits [of converged networks] to customers," said Taya.
With SME ripe for the taking on the converged networking front, Avaya is struggling to work these problems through. According to industry analysts, the VPN market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 40 per cent over the next three years. "The SME sector is ready to change now," says Taya. "The cycle for the bigger guys will be a lot longer."