Avaya Channel Execs: Chapter 11 Didn’t Stop Innovation

Channel Partners' Edward Gately

Edward Gately

All eyes are on Avaya as it makes its way through the chapter 11 bankruptcy process, and promises partners and customers it will emerge stronger than ever before.

Last month, the company announced the filing of an amended reorganization plan and a new CEO effective Oct. 1. The agreements could cut more than $3 billion from the $6.3 billion in debt it had when it entered bankruptcy in January.

Jim Chirico, Avaya’s chief operating officer and global sales leader, will become CEO when Kevin Kennedy retires in a few weeks.

Avaya's Gary Levy

Avaya’s Gary Levy

Avaya has been transitioning from a legacy hardware business to a software and services company, and has been looking for ways to cut its debt load. This summer, it sold off its networking business to Extreme Networks, while maintaining its call-center operations.  

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Gary Levy, vice president of U.S. channels, and John Colvin, global marketing director, strategic partners, provide an update on Avaya’s focus while navigating through chapter 11, and what partners can expect when it exits bankruptcy.

Channel Partners: How has Avaya’s channel strategy changed with the sale of its networking business to Extreme?

Gary Levy: I would say that, as you know, our (partner) program, Avaya Edge  … continues to evolve. And one of the benefits of the program when we started it last year was that it has much segmentation to it. It allowed for the addition of segments and the removal of segments. So, as an example, we’re enhancing our cloud segment this year as we come into our fiscal year 2018, and with the sale to Extreme, we really just were able to remove the segment of networking and not necessarily have to change the program. In fact, we have done our best to honor our partner commitments and make sure that our benefits were going to take through the fourth quarter so our partners would not be hurt by the move to Extreme. So we’re actually making sure there’s funding in the program so our partners would be successful through the transition.     

CP: What’s the latest with the Avaya Edge program? Any new features, benefits, etc.?

GL: What we’ve been working toward is the evolution of the cloud in the program. The cloud has been a part of the program since last year and we are enhancing the program as well. We have seen tremendous success in our partners being enabled to stand up their own cloud or work through a combination of selling their cloud and Avaya cloud capabilities. So we’ve seen tremendous multiples of that onboarding and seat growth from the program. The program is driving the behavior and I think that over time we will continue to see that. [It’s] still is evolving for fiscal year 2018, we’re still working out the details, but we are continuing to expand our channel capabilities around …

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