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Avaya CEO Jim Chirico On How Channel Restructure Will Improve ‘Velocity And Speed’ Of Business

‘We need to understand where we have shortcomings, whether it’s in infrastructure, systems, processes, or in people or technology skills. it’s a major shift -- just because you have it, doesn’t mean they are going to come and buy it,’ Avaya CEO Jim Chirico tells CRN.

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Chirico On Channels

Once a premise-based unified communications (UC) giant, Avaya has spent the last three years bouncing back from bankruptcy and moving full-speed ahead into the cloud. Today, the Durham, N.C.-based provider is flexing its muscles with a full portfolio of hybrid UC offerings, video, contact center as a service (CCaaS) and Communications platform as a Service (CPaaS) solutions that are all catching on with customers with the help of Avaya’s robust channel ecosystem.

In fact, Avaya’s Cloud, Alliance Partner and Subscription (CAPS) revenue grew every quarter of 2020 and continued to tick up during fiscal Q1, which the company reported earlier this month. CAPS revenue now accounts for 34 percent of Avaya’s total revenue compared to 18 percent in the first quarter of fiscal 2020. Avaya expects Cloud, Alliance Partner and Subscription to represent between 35 and 40 percent of Avaya’s total revenue in fiscal 2021, which means plenty of room for opportunity for channel partners.

Avaya in December revamped its channel structure and strategy to line up with its cloud goals. To that end, the company promoted Dennis Kozak, former senior vice president of business transformation, to lead Avaya’s global channel efforts as the company’s first global channel chief in years. Steven Spears was hired as Avaya’s first chief revenue office to handle global sales, and Mike Coleman, Samsung’s former mobility channel chief, also joined to lead Avaya’s North American channel efforts.

Jim Chirico, president and CEO of Avaya, sat down with CRN this month to talk about the company’s booming cloud and subscription growth that’s being driven by the channel, as well as Avaya’s channel restructure, the new leaders, and how Avaya plans on interacting with the channel differently in 2021.

What follows are excerpts from the conversation.

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