Chris Dickson Talks Plans for Avaya Channel Partners

In a conversation at this year's Engage event, Avaya's channel leader said the company is hoping to build a more vigorous relationship with its channel partners.

Moshe Beauford, Contributing Editor

May 16, 2024

3 Min Read
Avaya channel partners

For almost six months Chris Dickson has directed Avaya's channel partner program. 

A native New Zealander, Dickson has spent the last three years at Avaya in various high-level channel leadership roles. During his 31-year channel and sales career, he also served as head of channels at Verizon Enterprise Solutions.  

In conversation with Channel Futures at this year's Avaya Engage Dickson discussed how Avaya hopes to build a more vigorous relationship with Avaya channel partners.

Heavily relying on the channel to get its product into the hands of the right individuals and companies, Dickson says Avaya hopes to up its channel sales from 65% of sales brought in by the channel to 80%.

"In North America, the line share of our business is through the channel," Dickson stressed.

Six Months of Leading Avaya Channel Partners 

By the end of the year, Dickson said he hopes to have most of the channel team in the field interacting more with partners. 


He summed up his six months of leading Avaya channel partners by saying, "The past six months have meant a lot of focus, and what I mean by that is getting under the skin of partners to learn what they are doing."

His goal is to understand the joint value proposition Avaya offers and the partners who share their vision and alignment. Dickson told Channel Futures he wants to do this to determine how and where Avaya will make its investments and in which channel partners it will invest.

Dickson, citing the unified communications giant's recent advancements and unions with cloud-based players like Zoom and the recent renewal of a five-year partnership with RingCentral that now adds AI capabilities over the top (OTT) of its on-prem hardware, said any partner who joins the "journey" has to be ready for a collaborative effort. 

"Partners Are Far More Involved with Our CIO Customers"

Dickson acknowledged that many of Avaya's partners spend a great deal of time cultivating Avaya customer relationships, plus the value channel partners bring to the table. 

"Our partners are far more involved with our customers at the CIO level than we are; they own the relationship," Dickson said.  

With 4,500 partners and countless partner types in the Avaya channel partner program, Dickson said he's hard-pressed to believe in a one-size-fits-all model that satisfies them. 

Regarding Avaya channel partner recruitment, Dickson said, "It is all about selective recruitment," and as a leader, Dickson described himself as practical, focused and deliberate.

Stressing an All-New Avaya 

One of the major takeaways from the three-day Engage event was that Avaya is trying to distance itself from the image of being a legacy player by partnering with leaders in the cloud and hybrid space with some of the most robust AI offers on the CCaaS market. 

In nearly every conversation we had with the UC firm's leadership and partners at the show, as well as those on the showroom floor, they continued to stress the firm's substantial on-premises install base. It represents the majority of Avaya's annual revenue. 

It's clear that Avaya customers have been on a journey with the UC provider for some time now and are becoming more reliant on tools that can only exist in a hybrid environment. This is forcing Avaya's hand to admit the renewed need to modernize and understand not only where customers are, but where they are going.

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About the Author(s)

Moshe Beauford

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Moshe has nearly a decade of expertise reporting on enterprise technology. Within that world, he covers breaking news, artificial intelligence, contact center, unified communications, collaboration, cloud adoption (digital transformation), user/customer experience, hardware/software, etc.

As a contributing editor at Channel Futures, Moshe covers unified communications/collaboration from a channel angle. He formerly served as senior editor at GetVoIP News and as a tech reporter at UC/CX Today.

Moshe also has contributed to Unleash, Workspace-Connect, Paste Magazine, Claims Magazine, Property Casualty 360, the Independent, Gizmodo UK, and ‘CBD Intel.’ In addition to reporting, he spends time DJing electronic music and playing the violin. He resides in Mexico.

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