Polycom Shakes Up Partner Relationship with Avaya

Voice and video collaboration stalwart Polycom has announced a significant shake-up in its relationship with long-time OEM channel partner Avaya, a perennial powerhouse in enterprise communications.

As part of Polycoms evolving strategy behind its Open Collaboration Network initiative, the company is now offering its midmarket Polycom HDX video endpoint line directly to its channel partners, instead of ceding sole access to the channel to Avaya, as it has in the past. However, in a classic case of “co-opetition,” Polycom is retaining Avaya as a key sales partner for the HDX as well. In effect, Polycom is establishing a direct link to its channel partners, while hedging its bets with Avaya. All existing services and support relationships between the two will remain in place.

Its a move Polycom hopes will fire up its channel base, which can reap higher margins through a more direct sales approach that eliminates the Avaya middleman, and should help drive down end-user prices, making for an easier sale.

Polycom is picking its spots to engage the channel, and will allow Avaya continued partner control over Polycoms higher-end Immersive Telepresence line for the enterprise, as well as associated infrastructure and Polycoms OEM Avaya-branded voice products, all of which are supported by Avaya services. Maintaining direct ties to Avaya for both its complementary product portfolio and support services remains key to Polycoms Open Collaboration Network strategy, as does ongoing participation in Avayas DevConnect Program for joint research and development.

The decision on when to sell directly through partners and when to engage another companys channel base is largely a matter of positioning and market clout for Polycom. Avaya has a high-touch direct sales organization touching many of the global accounts across multi-theatre [markets] and immersive telepresence solutions represent one of the routes to market that these global enterprises [take] to deliver an integrated high-end UC experience, said Maurizio Caupuzzo, VP, Global Channel Marketing, for Polycom. Additionally Avaya has a global capability to deploy and manage Immersive Telepresence systems through their Multimedia Network Operation Centers. This is a service often required in such sales.

Caupuzzo confirmed that Polycom and Avaya will continue to work with their joint channels led by distributors Westcon and Scansource, as well as AVI-SPL, VICOM, and Black Box Network Services, to name just a few and recruit new channel partners where it makes sense.


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