Avant Unveils Research Arm, Revamped Sales Tools For Partners

Master agent Avant's biggest partner summit yet will feature the company's laser focus on exclusive research and a revamped sales tool for Avant partners.

Avant wants to be known as a research powerhouse. That's why at this year's partner summit, the master agent is showcasing its brand-new initiative, Avant Analytics.

Avant Analytics is the company's research arm that will supply solution providers and customers with information on new technologies and business models, such as cloud, co-location, connectivity, SD-WAN, security, and Unified Communications as a Service from leading IT research analyst firms. Avant is publishing on average about four reports a year, said Drew Lydecker, Avant's president.

"Avant Analytics is a big investment with very unique individuals that come from the research side of the world, and it’s very unique to us in the industry," he said.

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Partners can take advantage of the Avant Analytics division to view surveys, focus groups, partner councils, and anecdotal evidence that can help them better understand technology outlooks and the trends that are informing their end customers’ decisions. Being armed with more research can translate to increased customer loyalty, Lydecker said.

This week's conference, the Special Forces Summit 2019, is the company’s biggest partner event yet, Lydecker told CRN. In addition to showcasing its new research arm, the master agent has more sales tools to put in the hands of its trusted adviser community.

Avant Tuesday unveiled the enhanced Avant Pathfinder, a face-to-face IT decision-making tool that solution providers can use in real time with their customers to get instant information on next-generation products and services such as cloud, co-location and telecommunications. Pathfinder is built on Salesforce Communities and includes a vast provider portfolio of more than 100 cloud services, 1,500 co-location centers and 60 carrier services. The tool also includes a Data Center Locator with more than 1,500 data centers globally that are organized by criteria such as geographic proximity to a location and compliance certifications. Today, partners can compare technologies by different vendors side by side in Pathfinder and can pull up appropriate case studies and video training sessions.

New to Pathfinder is Fiber Locator, a capability that lets solution providers quickly identify fiber routes and lit building details, as well as Cloud Ninja Notes, a feature that give partners access to more than 200 detailed technical notes on providers and technologies written by Avant’s own cloud engineering team. The tool can also now show partners where every Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud node is located.

The features within Pathfinder gives partners the power to do the same research in seconds that used to take weeks or months, Lydecker said.

"Pathfinder is a disruptive tool geared toward customer-facing meetings, and it's the evolution of our technology we've been building and it's even more focused on the end customer," he said. "We're really thrilled to have it ready because we think it's the single-greatest tool for trusted advisers to differentiate themselves with in front of a customer."

Also at the Special Forces Summit this week will be executive tracks, sessions with private equity and investment banker leaders, and talks focused on mergers and acquisitions, and building value in channel partner businesses.

"We're celebrating our 10-year anniversary this year," Lydecker said. "This event has become way larger than we thought it would and has shattered every record we've had. It's going to be a great introduction for a lot of partners to Avant and the exciting things we're doing."