Avaya Talks Up Networking, Midmarket Opportunities In Partner Road Show

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Through a string of acquisitions over the past three years, Avaya has sought to transform itself from a UC vendor into a one-stop-shop for video, data networking and voice. And while not all of its roughly 9,000 authorized global partners may have taken the same leap, Avaya considers those partners who have to be the most successful and well positioned for growth.

"I think if I had to pick two things [that make partners successful], it's a focus on growth and expanding their business. They're not happy with the status quo," said Karl Soderlund, vice president, Americas Channel Sales at Avaya. "And point two would be a comfort looking at new technologies."

Soderlund said this second point was a running theme throughout Avaya's latest partner road show, which concluded this week and attracted more than 800 Avaya partners from around the U.S. The show consisted of four Avaya Partner Connection Days -- one in Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles and St. Paul, Minn. -- and was designed to give partners more face time with Avaya channel executives to discuss sales strategies and product road maps.


[Related: Avaya Puts Cloud-Based Communications In Motion]

"It was just really important for us and for our executive team to get out there in front of our partner community, from a local standpoint, and a get a chance to speak with them," Soderlund said.

One of the biggest messages Avaya sent to partners during the road show was to the importance of complementing their voice portfolios with the data networking and video solutions Avaya came into through its 2009 acquisition of Nortel and 2012 acquisition of Radvision. On the networking side, for instance, partners were urged to position Avaya's data networking portfolio from its Nortel buy as the underpinnings of the UC or contact center solutions they are already selling.

"The messaging there was the velocity ... that we are seeing from partners that are including networking in their UC proposals, and the success that they are having out there," Soderlund said.

Soderlund said one of the biggest advantages of selling Avaya networking and video products, particularly for Avaya partners new to the technology, is that it arms them with a single point of contact for all their training and pre- and post-sales support needs.

"It's easier to [ramp up] with one company that you know the ins and outs of versus trying to go and bring on different point solutions to different point manufacturers and trying to make a coordinated training plan," Soderlund said. "We are trying to make it simple and profitable for them."

Edward Dolan, executive vice president of DJJ Technologies, an Islandia, N.Y.-based solution provider, applauded Avaya's efforts over the years to broaden its play outside of voice.

"I think that a lot of [Avaya's] competitors -- your Ciscos of the world, especially -- they were able to provide you with that complete end-to-end solution. When you dealt with Avaya, you had to piecemeal different parts together from different manufacturers," Dolan said at the Boston-based Avaya Partner Connection Day last month. "We don't have that issue anymore. It's complete end-to-end Avaya."

NEXT: Avaya Partners Jump On Midmarket, Video Opportunities

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