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October 15, 2009
After 18 months of working to bring a global cohesiveness to its myriad channel programs, Avaya thinks it has found a magic formula for partners. The VARGuy hopes the networking giant is right — especially as Avaya works to complete the Nortel Enterprise business unit acquisition. Here are some key thoughts.
The new world model, dubbed Avaya Connect, was unveiled at Avaya’s 2010 Global Sales and Americas Partner Conference in Nashville. The promise of global unification is the result of a top-down channel restructuring that included the creation of a global channel chief position in January 2008. Former Motorola channel chief Jeremy Butt was tapped to lead the worldwide efforts of a company whose focus outside North America had been tepid at best.
“This has been quite an extensive task,” Butt said. The new focus required a DNA change at Avaya “that included a top-down initiative to channelize anything we do.”
“This new strategy is meant to grow business through the channel,” by making it less confusing to be a channel partner, said Barat Dickman, director of Avaya Worldwide Channels.
The global model is more zen-like, focusing less on volume and more on the value of the partner. In other words, recognizing and rewarding the competency of the partner as a whole, not just on the partner’s close rates.
To help partners along that path, Avaya has streamlined its pricing structure as well as its training and certifications, two major time-sucks that navigating, some argue, can be a full-time job.
Certifications, for example, have been reduced to four from six. Likewise, Avaya has consolidated 100-plus courses and exams to fewer than 15, while increasing the type of mediums and languages available for its courses. Finally, Avaya has decreased by 50 percent both the cost and time spent to certify.
Pricing, meanwhile, has also been simplified, with Avaya moving from 450 separate pricing groups to fewer than five. In addition, the company is lowering the list prices of new models and moving much of the transactional processing to between Avaya and distributors. That means no more rebates to track down. Let your friendly distributor do it for you.
Avaya Connect will continue to have four tiers, but Dickman noted the requirements will change significantly for some because of the new global model.
The program will be phased in over the course of a year, with benefits and new pricing go live in February of next year. The tier requirements will be in effect as of next August, the start of Avaya’s next fiscal year. That time lag will enable partners to set their sights on which tier they want to be at.
“Those partners who will move down [because of the new requirements] won’t be happy, but given the year to transition, they should be able to get to the level they want to be at,” Dickman said.
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