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Avaya ramps up friends expansion

Avaya has long been developing a Channel ecosystem with the simple aim of bringing expertise and innovation together. Named the Avaya and Friends program, the ethos is that delivering on specific customer demands is more problematic than ever before and no single vendor is able to address the market. When you throw in the digital transformations many businesses are grappling with then suddenly you can see how a collaborative approach could be more effective.

Alison Hastings, Avaya’s UK&I Channel Lead, spoke to Comms Business about the expansion of the initiative.

Hastings said “We have launched our Avaya and Friends proposition across the globe, we recognise we need to be able to provide open platforms so our Channel Partners can actually build their own solutions, build their own innovation, and make it more specific to their customers. That might be for a certain vertical in healthcare or finance for example, but wherever it is our partners need to be able to go and deliver a tailored solution.”

Carmela Nicosia, Alliances Lead, Avaya Europe commented “Avaya and Friends is the Avaya strategic answer to the major market trends which is caused by our customers digital transformations.

“We are committed to expanding our market reach so we are opening up our platform to partners and also to third party, best of breed, vendors that can help expand the Avaya ecosystem.”

“There are so many different elements which impact the Customer Experience in addition to the traditional contact centre. The Back Office, for example, has become very relevant as has Knowledge Management, specialist vendors can really bring this vision together from within the Avaya and Friends ecosystem.”

Richard Wainwright, Director of Product Management at Maintel commented “Maintel has been a part of the program for a long time and it has really enabled us to take very simple integrations of different products and take them to market very quickly.

“That is from two perspectives, one is where Avaya test and integrate those products and provide us with a reference architecture so we can easily pick up and push out to our clients. The other one, in a product model, is they actually make the commercial relationship easier. Often they will take some of these products and bring them onto their own price list and you can procure them from Avaya as if it was an Avaya product. That makes our lives a lot easier in terms of speed to market.”

“The other thing which is great is it really allows us to customise our products and go after particular verticals. We have worked with Verint for a long time, we position those guys into our customers to drive better and higher quality interactions with their customers.”

Wainwright continued “Building a product not easy but it is relatively straight forward, commercially taking that product to market is often much harder. Having a lot of the issues around the supply chain and legality removed speeds it up significantly.”

Is inviting third party vendors into the Avaya ecosystem a risk? It’s obviously a risk Avaya think is worth taking as it looks to shed its closed insular image of the past. A new collaborative approach to building solutions is a refreshing step away from the mentality we used to see from vendors – “we’ve built this, now buy it!”

Speed is one of the key components in all this as digital transformation project’s demands increase. The collaborative approach could be the one way partners can take back control of their customer’s futures.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine