Partners To Avaya: Be Clear On Radvision Integration, Channel Sales Plans

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Avaya acquired Radvision for its strong technology that's complementary to Avaya's unified communications portfolio and SIP architecture, for a strong engineering group and talent pool, to have a fully integrated video solution at Avaya and to bring video intellectual property in-house so it can innovate faster, said Hugh McCullen, Avaya senior director for business development and strategic alliances.

"Video isn't just a CIO conversation, it's an end-user conversation," McCullen said. "Whether it's H.R., or finance, or the sales organization, you often have different video and applications touch points that you have to force-fit together. They're begging for a native video solution. We can natively integrate this intellectual property into the Avaya portfolio and drive seamless interoperability to promote and support BYOD."

"The important thing to note is that these endpoints and infrastructure will interoperate with Avaya on day one," said Nick Francis, Avaya's vice president of sales and marketing, video collaboration. "We'll have a full solution to sell -- a solution that will be tightly interoperable with our UC products and our data networking products -- at the beginning."

Avaya expects the acquisition to close within 90 days, and the plan right now is to keep Radvision intact -- including engineers and executive team -- and run Radvision as a business unit of Avaya focused on videoconferencing. Targeted sales teams from the combined Avaya and Radvision sales staff will attack the market, Francis said.

"But we don't want to encumber a smaller company while it's being assimilated," he said.

Avaya will provide more details on channel integration as the acquisition closes, Francis said, but will be deliberate about how it offers the Radvision products to its channel as well as how it addresses Radvision's existing partners, including the handful of solution providers Radvision has in North America.

"We are not going to require Radvision partners to become Avaya partners," Francis said. "We'll invest in the partners Radvision has and add to them our own set of partners, but it's not going to be something where we place a whole lot of demands on those partners."

Radvision represents Avaya's biggest acquisition since it bought Nortel's former enterprise unit in 2009, though the scope of the product and channel integration isn't nearly as large. It has made several small acquisitions since then, but Radvision's video footprint gives it a substantial videoconferencing boost that partners want to make sure they're a key part of.

"Don't ignore the channel," AVI-SPL's Brandofino said. "I think Cisco and Polycom both learned the hard way that it can hurt sales when the partners aren't on board with what you're doing. Avaya can reach out to us and get our viewpoints on the good and bad of what happened with Cisco, and learn from those mistakes. Keep us in the loop."

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