Avant Rolls Out Vendor Analytics, Names Top Supplier NPS Scores

Avant is providing NPS scores for its vendors based on a growing pool of reviews from its technology advisor partners.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

October 4, 2023

6 Min Read
Jake SChuman Shane McNamara Avant SPecial Forces
Jake Schuman and Shane

AVANT SPECIAL FORCES SUMMIT — The Avant Pathfinder sales platform has added crowdsourced analytics about supplier performance.

The Chicago-based tech services distributor (TSD) demonstrated the most recent version of Pathfinder, which technology advisors use to consult with business customers and inform the IT decision making process. Avant rolled out multiple updates to “Pathfinder 2.0,” most notably the ability to view the net promoter scores (NPS) for vendors in the Avant portfolio.

The NPS scores come from post-sale surveys Avant asked technology advisors to fill out after the implementation process had ended.  Data scientists from Avant’s analytics division vetted the 1,500-plus surveys. Avant vice president of product Jake Schuman said the development builds on a commitment from Avant and its investor Pamlico Capital, to accelerate the roadmap of the sales enablement platform and put more data to the fingertips of channel partners.


Avant’s Jake Schuman

“The Avant Provider Analytics engine is a pioneering development that empowers the trusted advisor by directly putting the power of vendor performance data into their hands. With dependable and verified sales ratings, this engine has become a game-changer for our trusted advisors because we require a validated customer deal or experience,” Schuman said.

Avant demoed the technology at its Special Forces Summit in Phoenix. It also shared the vendors who are scoring the best in their technology categories.

Genesys led the CCaaS category with an NPS of 86. Dialpad led UCaaS with 79. Spectrum Enterprise bested its connectivity counterparts with a 67. Equinix topped colocation with 63. Cato Networks led SD-WAN with 91. eSentire scored the highest in both security at 92. And finally, Cox-owned RapidScale scored 93 to lead the cloud/colocation category and the entire category.

Creating Transparency

Vendor reviews exist in multiple forms at various market research firms, with Gartner’s Peer Insights study coming to mind. And at least one TSD has made it possible for partner to leave reviews of vendors that their peers can read.

A key difference with Provider Analytics is that its inputs are coming directly from closed deals, Schuman said.

“Where those rating agencies fail is that if you want to go out and do a review on the company, you can do that. You don’t have to have an experience with that vendor to give a review,” Schuman said in a keynote speech.

That ad hoc nature of such reviews can distort the data, TopSpin Tech president Aram Bolduc said.


TopSpin’s Aram Bolduc

“When do people leave reviews, whether it’s Yelp or anywhere else? When they have something really bad happen or when they have something extremely good happens,” Bolduc told Channel Futures. “People aren’t going to go, ‘Oh, that went smoothly. Let me go put a review in.'”

Leveraging Analytics

Schuman told Channel Futures earlier this year that 40% of Avant’s partners use Pathfinder all or nearly all of the time. And 47% white label the platform in presentations to customers.

Michigan-based C3 Technology Advisors started using Pathfinder in the tool’s early days.

“From customer-facing matrices to back-office commission tools, we’ve found Pathfinder to be an important tool in our ecosystem,” C3 president Matthew Toth said. “With the introduction of Avant Analytics within the tool, we’re excited to present the next level of Pathfinder to our clients.”


C3’s Matthew Toth

Now access to NPS scores can automate more of the vetting process. That’s especially the case when a partner is considering working with a vendor that they do not know well.

“Net promoter scores are important for us a partner as the frontline of defense for the customer,” Bolduc said. “They’re trusting the advisor to bring suppliers that have a good reputation and a good product and good service. The last thing we want to do is present somebody that is going to produce an adverse effect or a negative outcome for them. We lose credibility. We potentially lose the customer.”

For Rise Technology Advisors co-founder Eric Ludwig, the new feature may play a role when his company is presenting information to customers.


Rise Technology’s Eric Ludwig

“If I think Zoom is the best option for a client, I might say, ‘Let me show you the NPS score for all of Zoom’s installs.’ That’s a valuable outcome,” Ludwig said. “It’s not something we lead with, but we do see value in it as part of a broader story around the success or lack thereof for whatever project you’re doing.”

Jeff Garrett, vice president of solutions architecture, said he felt the product update filled “a little bit of a black box” in the market. He added that appreciated the customizability of the platform and the ability of technology advisors to input data.

“Being able to plug our in own experiences based regions we’re in and customers we’re in and not relying solely  on Avant engineers, that’s even better,” he said.


Opkalla’s Jeff Garrett

The Future of Avant Pathfinder

Avant hosted separate breakout sessions for vendors and partners to ask Schuman and the Avant product team questions about the platform and make recommendations for future updates.

When asked what he might like to see in the next iteration of Pathfinder, Ludwig said he’d be interested in seeing patterns around customer technology consumption.

“Of their clients that have purchased more than one technology, what are they buying, how are they buying and when are they buying? Maybe building stitching between one project and another project and another project and another project. I think there’s some tactical strategy that can be pulled out of where other firms have been successful,” he said.

In addition, he said it would be interesting to add statistics to the vendor analytics.

“Tell me about how long it takes from ink to install to bill to commission. Track that by supplier and by deal, and maybe there are subcategories as well. That is quite valuable to me because it’s not subjective,” he said.


Rise’s Ed Wu

A natural milestone for the platform will simply be increasing the sample size of partner surveys. One partner noted that they collect their post-sale information but didn’t have enough to make their data statistically significant. For that partner, at least 30 reviews would be required. That’s where the crowdsourcing of the larger Avant partner community can help make data more plentiful accurate.

Rise co-founder Ed Wu said Avant has set itself apart in the TSD market when it comes to sales enablement tools like Pathfinder.

“As much as you might say Microsoft Teams has won the platform war, I think it’s safe to say Avant has won the technology platform war for the TSDs,” Wu told Channel Futures. “Pathfinder is head and shoulders above any other platforms. There’s other TSDs that aren’t even trying to develop and innovate because they’re too far behind.”

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email James Anderson or connect with him on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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