Catalyst Telecom gets Partners in Gear


Telephony distributor Catalyst Telecom is rolling out new tools and initiatives to help partners sell more converged communications solutions.

For one, the company plans to launch Catalyst System Central, a software package for tracking factory orders of Avaya's enterprise IP telephony products, said John Black, president of Catalyst Telecom, a Greenville, S.C.-based unit of specialty distributor ScanSource. The tool is in beta-testing now and should be available to solution providers by the end of June, he said.

Black is also encouraging solution providers to target IP telephony solutions at vertical markets.

at a glance: convergence
>> CALAYST TELECOM ANSWERS THE CALL
TOOLS OF THE TRADE: CATALYST TELECOM HELPS VARs SELL CONVERGED SOLUTIONS

> Catalyst System Central: A software package for tracking factory orders of Avaya's enterprise IP telephony products.

>Solution City: A Web-based knowledge center VARs can visit to get expertise on selling on specific vertical markets, such as accounting, education, financial serices, governmentm health care, law and retail.

> Avaya Global Services: Caltalyst Telecom is in the process of negotiating a contract with Avaya so the distributor can resell the vendor's professional services to solution providers.

To help partners do this, Catalyst Telecom recently launched Solution City, a Web-based knowledge center that partners can access to learn about a

variety of vertical markets, including accounting, education, finance, government, health care and retail.

"This resource has executive overviews and tells you [about] ... the issues that are important to them [in these markets]," Black said. "If you're better prepared for vertical markets, you'll outperform your competition."

In the future, the tool will also help solution providers target utilities, the hospitality industry and manufacturing, he said.

"This is going to help our guys go in and take a look at some of the buzzwords and key things [vertical-market customers] are interested in," said Scott Kennedy, owner of Kennedy Communications, a solution provider in Lake City, Fla.

Catalyst Telecom developed Solution City by sitting down with people in vertical markets to find out what problems they face, what terminology they use, who the decision-makers are and what questions solution providers should ask potential customers, said Farrar Pittman, vice president of sales and marketing at Catalyst Telecom.

In addition, the distributor said it hopes to be reselling Avaya's professional services by next month.

Solution providers already can purchase Avaya services,including integration, installation and maintenance,for resale directly from the vendor, but buying them through distribution should ease the process, Pittman said.

"There can be a little bit of pain when they have to deal directly with Avaya,there are so many steps," Pittman said. "We'll simplify it for them."