Avaya Revamps Channel ProgramBy eChannelLine | Print
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The networking company Avaya says its new channel partner program is a major overhaul that better reflects the Cisco rival's move to mostly indirect sales.
Avaya has announced a major revamp of its channel program at the 2010 Avaya Americas Partner Conference being held in Nashville, with the announcement of Avaya Connect, a brand new global program. Avaya Connect represents a major overhaul of the company's existing channel programs into a globally consistent framework that streamlines processes, pricing, training and certification requirements while enabling channel partners to serve customers better.
"The existing program was over six years old and represented the partner engagement principles of a primarily direct selling company," said Mary Whittle, channel director, Avaya Canada.. "With the move to 85% Channel Centricity goals, the program definitely needed updating."
Many of the changes involve harmonizing the disparate programs Avaya was running in various regions into a new global framework. That gives a better ability to communicate a consistent message globally, Whittle said. It also provides consistency in the competency of partners based on metallic levels within the program, and better enabling support for global customers.
"The framework is global while the requirements criteria is 'right sized' for 3 separate markets -- the U.S. partners, smaller areas such as Canada or individual European countries, and more emerging markets," Whittle said.
The new Avaya Connect program includes a number of financial enhancements and benefits for channel partners, including tiered global discounts, new business incentive programs to help drive growth and funding to help improve vendor and partner consideration, market coverage and closure rates.
"The entire pricing model has been redefined to simplify quoting, and ensure partners are compensated (through increased discounts) for the investments they make in training, business development, building solutions, etc.," Whittle said. "The simplification is a very significant accomplishment in terms of making Avaya easier to do business with."
The single, global price list is designed to make it easier for customers and partners to understand, and faster for partners to develop quotes. The new program transitions from using post-sales rebates to providing point of sale credits, which reduces processing time to seconds. In addition, Avaya Connect streamlines the new partner application process to allow completion in under two hours.
Major changes have also been made to training and certification. The new model shifts from product-based training to solutions-based training focused on Unified Communications, Contact Center and Small and Midsize Business solution lifecycles - from design to sales, integration and maintenance. This sees the program move from nearly 97 learning and certification tracks to 13 solutions-based tracks, significantly reducing the time and complexity needed to achieve credentials. The curriculum for each path has been both optimized and condensed to minimize participants' time away from the job. In addition, under the new program, more instructor-led and virtual classes offer world-wide allow participants to study with an instructor and interact with the latest remote lab technologies without requiring major travel.
"These new certification requirements within a significantly streamlined curriculum can result in almost 50% fewer training hours due to efficiency built into the courseware," Whittle said.
Avaya Connect also simplifies partner requirements and processes for Platinum, Gold, Silver and Authorized levels and makes them more consistent across international theaters to enable partners to expand globally. As channel partners increase certification and competency levels and specializations, the Avaya Connect program offers higher benefits and discounts.
The new program also includes a Geographic Designation component to better support the needs of multinational customers and the partners who support them. Regional or global level designations will help these customers find the right partners for their needs, while taking advantage of centralized resources where it makes sense.
Avaya Connect will be globally operational on February 1, 2010 to enable existing partners to transition to the new program. The new global channel program will be announced in EMEA and APAC regions during their respective Partner Conferences in the coming months.