Mid Market Opportunity

Mid Market Opportunity

Susie Wiss – Crane Incentive trip to New York
Avaya’s largest distributor outside of the US, Crane Telecommunications, held their annual conference last month in London. Comms Business Magazine went along to see what it was all about.

Crane has had a good year. According to CEO David Grant, who opened proceedings at the Waldorf Hotel in London in front of more than 100 of their Avaya resellers, sales increased 11% to £61m, profits were up 140% and sales of Avaya Enterprise systems grew by 26%. Avaya were clearly chuffed too as they sent along a dozen or more of their staff including a couple of their big guns, Dave Johnson and Buddy Ceroni.


Grant said that during the last year Crane had entered into some new vendor agreements as well as exiting those with NEC/Philips. “54% of staff at Crane is focused on sales, pre-sales, marketing and technical support. We are looking to capitalise on growth opportunities in the market such as VoIP, which we have researched extensively, and new areas such as WLAN, applications management for QOS and security.”

For 2006 Grant has set a target of 20% growth, 85% of staff supporting customers and to expand their Avaya business by 15%.

“Crane has set up a new convergence solutions division and will be developing our services business. We will however not become involved in the data infrastructure business. So far 2006 has got off to a great start with sales up by 30% in our first quarter – our best quarter for Avaya products since 2000.

“The new division, Convergence Emerging Technologies (CET) will be a vendor independent organisation and will include products from vendors such as Trapeze and Spectralink. Crane’s reputation has been built upon our solid technical understanding of products. This will be carried through to the new products by making sure we recruit and train the right people.”

Dave Johnson, Avaya’s President for International markets addressed the delegates regarding the changing shape of the market and their customers.

“Customers are evolving. Mobility solutions such as fixed mobile convergence are becoming key and Avaya’s longer-term plans include more globalisation, more acquisitions and a focus on technology, innovation, solutions and service.”

Johnson acknowledged the supply problems Avaya had suffered from recently and assured delegates the issue was being resolved. He also confirmed that the new One-X product that resulted from Avaya’s purchase of Nimcat would be available in the UK by the end of the year.

One-X, which stands for One Experience, is a SIP-based peer-to-peer technology-based system where system set up and installation is dramatically simplified. Plug the telephones into the LAN and they configure themselves. In minutes users have access to features including voice mail, conferencing, auto attendant, and call management.

Tim Brooks, who heads up Crane’s Avaya division said he was putting together a set of plans to further grow all Avaya products. “IP Office 3.2, which will be easier and simpler to install starts shipping in July and Crane will be introducing ‘Attack Bundles’ to help resellers win business.”

Avaya took the opportunity to unveil their new mid-market play, the Multi-Vantage Express (MVE). Crane Avaya Marketing Director Runa Macleod said she believed the mid-market represented a huge opportunity for Crane and their resellers and Sales Director Susie Wiss added that Crane was introducing new programs and a new 2006 sales incentive for resellers.


“This will be based upon sales achieved between now and the end of September and winners will be invited to go on a three-day trip to New York where Crane will hold a unique reseller forum.”

The evening was marked by an awards ceremony for Crane’s top performing resellers; the winners being:

1    Top Reseller Award Touchbase Communications (UK)
2    Top Reseller Award Touchbase Communications (UK)
  Achievement Award Call Centre Technology
4    Achievement Award Sabio Ltd
5    Achievement Award Central Telecom
6    Highest Growth in 2005 Corporate Communications
7    Top Reseller Award NEG
8    Achievement Award ATC
9    Achievement Award Azzurri Communications Ltd
10  Achievement Award Excell Business Systems
11  Highest Growth in 2005 Telinet Ltd
12  Best Newcomer Touchbase Connectivity
13  Top Reseller for the Netherlands A & T Communications
14  Top Reseller for the Netherlands Rocom Telecommunications
15  Best Newcomer for Benelux Dencom
16  Top Reseller for Belgium Inventive Telecom Partners



A distributor reseller conference that outshines many a vendor event I have been to (many) is rare but that is what Crane achieved. The boat was definitely pushed out in all respects from venue choice, seminar program, mini vendor partner expo and gala dinner. A nice job. From a business perspective Crane now has an opportunity to capitalise on the mid-market opportunity with MVE which will fit much of the space vacated by INDeX which ceases to be available from this month. Interestingly for Crane, speaking to Avaya post this event, the vendor sees MVE taking sales away from Mitel 3300ICP.


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