CRN Exclusive: Avaya Launches New Midmarket Channel Program With New Bundles For Partners To Sell

Avaya continues its midmarket push via the channel with the launch of its new Midmarket Select Partner Program, tied with new solution packages it says give partners the "ammunition" needed to reap higher margins.

"We're helping partners go after midsize enterprises with solutions that are enterprise-ready that they can really make some great margins on," said Steve Biondi, the new global channel chief at Santa Clara, Calif.-based Avaya, in an interview with CRN. "These smaller enterprises are looking for the big, enterprise-ready solutions at their disposal, and we're giving partners the ammunition to go after that pretty aggressively. … Partners will get the stickiness they're looking for through this bundled approach."

Partners who join the program are granted access to five new Select Engagement Packages that offer value for private, public and hybrid deployments that are tailor-made for midsize enterprises with up to 2,000 employees, said Biondi. The packages are a full-stack solution that integrate unified communications, contact center, video, networking, mobility and services.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: Avaya's New Channel Chief Will 'Aggressively' Target Midmarket By Leveraging Channel]

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"They've hit a home run with this and have actually packaged it correctly for what the customers are looking for," said Jim Marsh, chief revenue officer at Exeter, R.I.-based Carousel Industries, which is enrolled in the program and is ranked No. 64 on CRN's 2015 Solution Provider 500 list. "These packages are flexible, easy to understand, consumable -- and that's exactly what the midmarket has been looking for."

Biondi said the packages simplify customer provisioning with intuitive management tools that speed deployment time and substantially lower the total cost of ownership compared the cost of similar competing solutions.

"Our intent here is to give the partners a commercial package to better go after that midmarket in terms of the marketing support, concierge desk, special pricing -- we combined them all together to make it easier for them to go after this marketplace," said Scott Shoults, vice president of Avaya's midmarket group.

"It will help us compete in other areas beyond just the telephony piece. It helps [partners] embrace networking, embrace video, and bring them all together as a common package," said Shoults. "It's much easier to order as well."

Some packages are basic, containing only a few components, while others have more than a dozen items. Avaya provides training on the products, packages and sales.

"We're heavily in the midmarket space, so finally when Avaya got re-energized around it, we saw this as a great opportunity for us," said Marsh. "It's priced right, [and] allows [customers] to do new adoption of new technologies to really allow partners to communicate with their customer base much more effectively, compared to what they had to do in the past. … This [program] will allow us to capture better margins, so we're very excited about it."

Carousel is only one of 40 partners enrolled in the program worldwide. Avaya is expecting to onboard upward of 10 percent of its 10,500 channel partners into the program over the next few years.

"The 40 partners will become 640 very soon after this thing gets the traction we think it's going to get," said Biondi. "We're really going after partners that are really interested in moving into a Software-as-a-Service kind of solution with us and interested in these bundle offerings."

To keep ongoing costs low and enable business growth, the packages include integrated support services with major software upgrade licenses for Avaya IP Office, video and contact center components.