Once again, Avaya Inc. is retooling its approach to the channel this time with an eye toward simplifying partner engagement by offering a common platform for all dealers no matter the target market or product line. The new Global Partner Program, called Avaya One, will be effective Dec. 1, and was announced to the channel Nov. 10 in a conference call by Ken Archer, vice president of North American Channels.
Avayas Ken Archer
Archer, who came to the organization 15 months ago, says his first step was to figure out ways to package product with the channel in mind from day one. He says that effort has paid off with a 10 percent boost in sales from the indirect channel. Sixty percent of Avayas sales come from partners, he adds.
Now, he is dismantling what he says some partners refer to as the three-headed monster. Avayas BusinessPartner channel program was separated into three parts each with distinct contracts, certifications, rules of engagement and products. These included Avaya Global Services, Avaya Enterprise Communications Group and Avaya Small and Medium Business. Those in addition to DeveloperConnection, Global Alliance Partners (large integrators and service providers) and consultants now will fall under the Avaya One umbrella and will include normalized contracts, certifications and rules of engagement. Product offers will not be impacted with the exception of expanding the range of professional services accessible to the partners.
We recognize some specialization is needed, but we have many hybrid partners, Archer says. Now we have one program and one strategy.
As an example, Archer says the deal registration and lead partner policies, which have been in place for ECG dealers but not for SMB dealers, will be applicable to all Avaya agents. Its open distribution on the SMB side, which tends to create shopping [among customers]. People dont recognize the value of the partner, he says, justifying the change.
Archer is quick to point out there will be no reduction in headcount as a result of the consolidation. Our goal is not to impact their relationships, he says. A national or regional account manager will have ownership for the business relationship and will coordinate within Avaya to support the partners needs.
In addition, he says, a new role has been created to help partners sell more professional services. This person, called a service development manager, will help partners identify their competencies and where Avaya can help. AGS also has developed new wholesale pricing options so that partners can private-label Avaya-delivered services and package them with their own to deliver a more complete value-added service and to eliminate potential sources of channel conflict. The available wholesale options have been expanded beyond maintenance to consulting/systems integration and managed services, Archer adds.
One of the byproducts of the new framework is that partners can move within the program to access support requirements without having to sign new agreements. As an example, a sales partner who begins to develop its own applications practice can now be part of the DevConnect program for ISVs without having to start over with a new team and new rules.
Changes to compensation will be minimal, says Archer, noting the exception of the new rates for AGS offers and additional product-specific promotions and rebates.
Archer says this transformation is phase one of the program. Phase two will include the integration of teams and processes, routes to market and coverage models, and will begin in January with incremental changes expected quarterly.