Avaya is certifying hundreds of partners at Engage to sell Avaya Cloud Office.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

February 5, 2020

6 Min Read
Avaya president and CEO Jim Chirico and RingCentral founder and CEO Vlad Shmunis

(Pictured above: Avaya president and CEO Jim Chirico on stage with RingCentral founder and CEO Vlad Shmunis at Avaya Engage in Phoenix, Feb. 4.)

AVAYA ENGAGE — Avaya is accelerating its partnerships with master agents and agents as it prepares to launch its Avaya Cloud Office sales effort in the United States on March 31.

Hundreds of master agents and agents are on hand at this week’s Avaya Engage 2020 conference in Phoenix. The theme of the conference is “All In” and it has attracted more than 3,000 partners and other attendees.

Avaya Cloud Office by RingCentral is the unified communications (UC) offering based on the strategic partnership between the two companies announced last October. Avaya Cloud Office combines RingCentral’s UCaaS platform with Avaya phones, services and migration capabilities for businesses of all sizes.

Jon Brinton, Avaya’s vice president of North America channel sales, tells Channel Partners that one of his priorities is outreach to masters and agents, and Engage featured an entire track for Telarus, Intelisys and other masters.


Avaya’s Jon Brinton

“That’s a whole selling community that have not engaged with Avaya so we’re going to grow that,” he said. “With Avaya Cloud Office we are taking an initiative directly to the masters to reach agents not already affiliated with Avaya, so to be able to tap into and engage, and expand our sales with a very large community of agents obviously in North America, and we’re going all out to get those people to adopt selling Avaya Cloud Office. We’ll be partnering with several of the strategic master agents on it; we’ve announced a couple and we’ll be announcing a few more. But we’re all in on reaching agents with Avaya Cloud Office.” 

Avaya is certifying hundreds of partners at Engage to sell Avaya Cloud Office, and the company is going to focus on driving more certification, Brinton said. Selling the offering requires a high level of expertise and knowledge of customer experience, he said.

“It hasn’t been a high point so we’re going to double down on that to see what we can do from a subscription perspective,” he said.

Frank Ciccone, Avaya’s senior vice president and general manager of North America sales and service delivery, said his company has been working with master agents as it was starting to build out its cloud platforms, and “we already have some great relationships with some master agents because of the distributorships that we have in place.”

“Avaya Cloud Office takes it to a whole other level,” he said. “It dramatically expands the opportunity for them to take advantage of an offering that’s right in their wheelhouse and in their sweet spot that perhaps we weren’t at that level before.”

Dennis Kozak, Avaya’s senior vice president of business transformation, said not only will partners earn a recurring commission from Avaya Cloud Office, but they will be expected to “start to pivot the way they do their engagement model with customers.” They should figure out what they can charge above per seat to help customers with onboarding, continuous integrations, new applications and business process engineering, he said.

Scott Shoults, Avaya’s vice president of U.S. cloud sales and operations for SMB/midmarket, said a large deal is coming through the funnel now that would have gone to a competitor if Avaya hadn’t introduced Avaya Cloud Office.

“Avaya has to be prepared to do all of it or very little of it,” he said. “We will have cradle to grave with customers … but there will be partners that want to do their own white glove … so we’ll step aside and let the partner do all the professional services. They can take as much as they want, but at the end of the day, the customer will always have Avaya as a backstop. It’s up to the agent or partner to see how involved they want to be.”

Also at Engage, Avaya and Afiniti, a provider of AI-based behavioral pairing technology, announced Avaya AI Routing with Afiniti AiRo, a new offering in the Avaya IX Contact Center portfolio that allows companies of all sizes and industries to improve customer interactions and employee engagement by pairing customers with contact center agents using AI.

Avaya AI Routing with Afiniti AiRo identifies “subtle and valuable” patterns in human interactions, which facilitates …

… better pairings between a customer and the right agent to drive better outcomes from resulting conversations, according to Avaya.


Afiniti’s Zia Chishti

“Avaya AI Routing with Afiniti AiRo is poised to transform how SMBs use AI to optimize customer interactions,” said Zia Chishti, Afiniti’s chairman and CEO. “For the first time, clients’ in-house data teams can take control of Afiniti’s … AI using an interactive dashboard, and in real-time forecast and measure the benefit our technology generates. While our core Afiniti platform will continue to address the large enterprise market, AiRo massively extends our technology to enable businesses with contact centers under a thousand agents to better pair their customers with their agents.”

In addition, Avaya has added new capabilities to Avaya Spaces, a cloud meeting and team collaboration app that integrates voice, video, tasks, sharing and more into one app that can be accessed from any endpoint device.

Enhancements to Avaya Spaces include: cloud spaces for messaging and meetings, file sharing and task management; HD video meetings for up to 500 participants with recording and content sharing; connectivity with Avaya IX Collaboration Unit CU360 huddle and SIP-based video room systems; browser and mobile app access along with Google, Slack, Microsoft Office 365, Outlook, and Teams integrations; and administration of users through Avaya Aura and Avaya IP Office for seamless management.

Scott Landis, Vox Network Solutions‘ president and CEO, said clearly “everybody wants to go to either a subscription or a cloud model in some aspect,” so Avaya Cloud Office is the “right move overall.”

“As a partner, our value is to bring a larger ecosystem outside of just a cloud offer or a contact center,” he said. “It’s all these other companies that provide AI or integration into Salesforce or Oracle, or custom application development or carrier services,” he said. “So for us as a partner, it’s important for us to be able to package Avaya’s solutions in a broader offering.”

Vox is trying to assimilate what Avaya Cloud Office is because it’s so new, trying to get questions answered so it can figure out how it will build an offer around it, Landis said.

“But we will definitely build an offer around it,” he said. “We have a UCaaS offer, which is a cloud enterprise Avaya offer that we put a lot of money into building, so that is going to be more of the go-to initially for our enterprise customers, but that’s probably 2,000 seats and above, so this fits a need in that more mid-market space for us.”

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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