Avaya Channel Strategy Tilts Toward Full Portfolio Partners

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Avaya is shifting away from point product sales and toward the broader, partner-led sale of its full technology portfolio, including a stepped-up focus on contact center, unified communications and data networking by its roughly 1,800 U.S.-based solution providers.

"Everyone has to make the journey to solutions, and we will set the business in that direction," said Tom Mitchell, Avaya senior vice president and president, Go-To-Market. "We have existing customers who aren't selling wide enough. You could have a contact center specialist who's not adding the discussion around video and UC or other areas."

Avaya will continue to support partners focused on particular pieces of the portfolio, be they in any of the buckets. But from Avaya President CEO Kevin Kennedy on down, the push at Avaya's U.S./Government Sales Leadership Partner Conference this week is to encourage broader and deeper sales of the full Avaya stack, be those sales from adjacent technologies or services attachment.

Mitchell gave the example of a telephony-focused partner averaging $200,000 deals, but adding $180,000 per deal based on that partner's expansion into data networking, contact center and services sales on top of his core competency. That's not uncommon given Avaya's breadth, he said.

"It's not like you have to build an entire new business to go there," Mitchell said. "It's very accretive because you already have assets there."

"The customers have greater expectations, and we've got the solutions to fulfill those expectations," added Jeremy Butt, vice president of global channels at Avaya. "Between us and the market trends, partners are naturally moving in that direction but many need help moving in that direction."

Tim McDermott, president of MAC Source Communications, a Syracuse, N.Y.-based solution provider, said he fully backs the strategy.

"We're going to do it because we believe in it, not just because Avaya wants us to do it," he said. "I think for me, the entire scope of the portfolio, being able to go deep and wide with our enterprise customers with an Avaya solution is huge. The rate of introduction of new products has been staggering to say the least, and the products caught up with the hype this year."

John Babcock, president of Relational Technology Solutions, a Columbus, Ohio-based solution provider, said Avaya's strategy would help partners understand what it wants its channel to look like.

"It's been great that there's been this shift toward the channel, but my sense is there are going to be some more changes," he said. "I want them to help me understand how we're going to compete and who we're going to collectively compete against in the market."

Avaya's focus will be architectural, according to executives, with collaboration endpoints, SIP-based infrastructure and the data networking portfolio it acquired through Nortel as an infrastructural underpinning.

"The partner of the future, for us, has to sell the full portfolio," said Steve Bandrowczak, vice president and general manager, Data Solutions, at Avaya. "We've been very clear about that. The ones that will grow with us and that will make the most are the ones that sell the full portfolio."


NEXT: Avaya VARs Applaud Strategy

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