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UCaaS Vendors Court Agent Channel, Zoom Founder Blasts Cisco

There were many channel headlines coming out of the Avant Special Forces Summit.

James Anderson

October 7, 2020

4 Min Read
Cloud UC

Avant Communications agent partners enjoyed a record quarter during the pandemic.

That’s according to Avant president Drew Lydecker, who said partners are maximizing their opportunities.

“They are taking advantage of our tools, our resources, our people to seize this market, and when this COVID-19 nightmare is over, it will be a tsunami of opportunities,” Lydecker said.


Avant’s Drew Lydecker

Lydecker was speaking at the Avant Special Forces Virtual Summit. He encouraged the Avant agent community to talk to their customers about machine learning and artificial intelligence. He said IT staff are interested in harnessing these capability to improve their experience.

“Bots are automating mundane processes that humans were doing. They’re opening emails and loading data into the CRM tools. They’re doing things that no IT staff wants to do,” Lydecker said.

Lydecker praised agent sales around UCaaS. He noted that partners are raking in approximately $1,800 per minute in UCaaS.

We recently compiled a list of 20 top UCaaS providers offering products and services via channel partners.

“This market is absolutely on fire. If you’re not focused on this; if you’re not talking about the advancements that this could do for a company, then you’re obviously wasting your time,” he said.

UCaaS Panel

Avant’s Jen Gallego asked a panel of UCaaS vendors if their industry has become commoditized. Will the tools and process that gained such a strong traction during the pandemic keep momentum when people go back to the office?

The vendor representatives gave a resounding “yes.”


8×8’s John DeLozier

“News flash for everybody: UCaaS is not commoditized; it’s not dead,” said John DeLozier, 8×8’s senior vice president and global channel chief. DeLozier said 8×8 jumped from 50,000 users on its collaborations/meetings platform to 290 million over the course of three months.

“The toothpaste is out of the tube. It’s not going back in,” DeLozier said.

Paul Gentile, LogMeIn’s senior director of product marketing, said his company’s recent customer surveys and roundtable discussions demonstrate the “return to the office” will most likely take a hybrid form. LogMeIn’s survey found that more than 70% of workers would prefer to permanently at home.


LogMeIn’s Paul Gentile

“They said wholeheartedly and unequivocally that these tools are here to stay,” Gentile said.


Zoom founder and CEO Eric Yuan and Zoom chief revenue officer Ryan Azus dropped in on the virtual summit to share their perspective.

Yuan, a former Cisco employee, said he founded Zoom to bring happiness to unsatisfied WebEx customers.


Zoom’s Eric Yuan

“The year before I left, every morning before I woke up, I did not want to go to the office,” Yuan said. “Because I did not see a single happy WebEx partner.”

Avant and other master agents this year joined Zoom’s referral partner program, which the vendor launched in March.

Since then, the company has simplified its deal registration process, expanded its channel managers’ coverage and invested in training resources, according to Azus. Zoom has also expanded its SPIFF by a factor of up to five.

“For us, we want to have not just the best products for the end customer, but we also want to be easier to do business with,” Azus said.

Avant CEO Ian Kieninger said he and his team have had success in tackling the enterprise with Zoom.


Avant’s Ian Kieninger

“At first we were a little concerned whether we could play with you on the big deals, but I’ve seen us get involved on and get registered on some monster deals,” Kieninger said. “And the funnel is huge.”

Vonage’s New Hire

New Vonage CEO Rory Read made an appearance at the virtual event.

The former Dell and Virtustream executive said he picked Vonage because of market opportunity and Vonage’s “innovative spirit.” He called Vonage’s communications, UCaaS, contact center and API platforms attractive assets.


Vonage’s Rory Read

“It has really reinvented itself into this global leader in cloud communications. And I’m a long-term investor. I always look at things over a three, five, seven-year period. I try to look for those companies that are going to have a dramatic impact in the industry,” Read said.

Expanded Supplier Partnership

Avant on Wednesday announced the expansion of its partnership with INAP (Internap). As a result, the Avant agent base can now sell INAP’s hybrid infrastructure solutions in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

INAP emerged from chapter 11 bankruptcy in May.

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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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