Avaya Renews Channel Partner Program

Communications vendor Avaya has announced changes to the company’s channel partner programme.

The company says it is encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit of their partners with a 'host of new advancements that drive growth, increase rewards and reduce administrative requirements'.

Andy Litherland, head of Avaya’s EU Channel said, “Our European channel programme has gone from strength to strength over the past few years. The changes announced today reflect the way our business has evolved to focus on software and services and the increasing importance of both services and consultancy to our channel partners. They will enable partners to make the most of the huge digital transformation opportunity we are currently seeing in Europe.”

In Avaya's words, changes in their Connect partner programme include:

- Rewarding groundbreakers–Avaya channel partners entering new markets in the following areas will receive additional support and benefits: Midmarket, Contact Center, Fabric Networking, Modernise the Customer Base, and Cloud.

- Less is more – Avaya is optimising existing benefits by consolidating and enhancing numerous incentives. As a result, partners will spend less time researching and applying for incentives and have more time to grow their Avaya business with new customers and markets.

- More equals even more – Building on changes to the Connect programme announced in 2014, Partners who work successfully across all Avaya solutions will be eligible for additional incentives along with discounted co-delivery services.

- Specialist focus – Partners who demonstrate expertise in key market segments like midmarket, networking and cloud will also benefit from extra rebates.

- Exceptional customer support incentives: The Avaya next generation Co-Delivery Partner programme will recognise partners who deliver exceptional customer experiences. From next year, partners will be measured against industry -leading key performance indicators and metrics, including “On-time-Renewals”, “Customer Satisfaction” and “Implementation Satisfaction”.

Changes to the partner programme will come into effect in Europe from 1st July 2016

Steve Biondi, Global Channel Chief for Avaya added, “Avaya Channel Partners start from a position of strength, equipped with a portfolio of unified communications, customer experience and networking solutions that is unmatched in the industry. We are making that position even stronger with new programme elements that will bolster their capabilities and reach as we streamline how we work together. We want and need our channel partners to be successful and our customers to be happy - we can only do that as a united front that respects the individual needs of each party.”

Comms Business Magazine lauds the attempt by Avaya to lead resellers in to profitable new income streams and assist users achieve digital transformations but questions, at all supply chain levels, the gains likely to be made in reducing administration.

Given that a very high percentage of channel sales are supplied via distributors this scheme could be a nightmare for the likes of Westcon and Scansource if they have to administer reseller "On-time-Renewals”, “Customer Satisfaction” and “Implementation Satisfaction” as well as when and how resellers entered new markets. We would guess that all resellers would have to report directly up the chain to Avaya in order to make any gains but this would leave distributors pretty much in the dark on what was happening in the market.

We therefore asked Avaya to comment and my first question to them was how Avaya would manage this scheme, particularly via their distributor channels? We observed that 'This scheme would be a horrific task for distributors to manage and report upon and I can’t see Avaya having the means, or mostly likely the budget, to ‘motivate’ distributors to comply.'

It's been a week and we have not heard back from Avaya but in the interim I had asked distributors Scansource and Westcon for their comments on the new scheme.

So far no comment from Westcon but Scansource told us, "I am afraid that ScanSource cannot comment on Avaya’s change to their recent channel program changes as they do not wish to do so for any of their vendors."

Fair enough.

Next steps?

Well we'll ask Avaya resellers for their comments.

Go on, give us a call.