Avaya overhauls its channel model

By Jeff Jedras, ITBusiness.ca |  Channel, Avaya

Networking solutions vendor Avaya used its first Americas sales and partner conference to signal its serious about becoming a serious channel player with the launch of Avaya Connect, a new all-encompassing partner program that has been 10 months in the making.

Previously, Avaya had a number of different programs for its partners, varying by geography and product. With Connect, there will be one global program with one global pricing model, designed to make it easier for partners to get trained on and do business with Avaya, to sell solutions rather than products, and to allow Avaya to drive more of its business through its channel partners.

Aspects of Connect include tiered global discounts, new incentive programs, a single glonal prie list, a training model focused on solutions that cuts the number of courses and the time commitment in half. The Authorized, Silver, Gold and Platinum tiers will remain, and the world has been broken down into three geographic types to recognize varying market and development conditions.

The new partner program will go-live on February 1, 2010.

"Avaya Connect is the next step in Avaya's evolution to become a high-touch, channel-centric company," said Barat Dickman, director of worldwide channel programs with Avaya. "The goal is to drive profitability for our partners."

Dickman added it's also part of Avaya's move towards a value-based model that rewards competencies, a shift he sees continuing over the next few years. More marketing and development dollars are being shifted towards training to help partners with that new direction.

And on the training front, the number of certification levels has been lowered from 70 learning and certification to six solutions-focused tracks, and the over 100 courses and exams Avaya offers has been cut to less than 50 in the new program,.

"This will cut partner time spent on training by half, and keep them in the field and productive," said Dickman.

Jeremy Butt, vice-president of worldwide channels with Avaya, said the new program has been in development for over 10 months, and is the product of extensive consultations with Avaya's partner community.

"We had a very fragmented, difficult to manage model," said Butts. "We had to bring it together. Simplicity helps drive productivity and growth. We new we needed a global program, and a pricing structure to make it easier to do business with us and dive growth."

The new global pricing model will be price-neutral, said Butts, and with the new program at the end of the day Avaya is enriching its channel investment as well as streamlining the model.

"We're re-wiring the company. This will be a truly world-beating model that makes it a lot easier for partners to do business with us," said Butts. "We're taking cost out of their business."

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