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Avaya is hoping its new group of services specializations will help
its channel partners grow their customer reach and increase revenue.

The Avaya Services Delivery Specialization (SDS) program, introduced
this week, categorizes Avaya BusinessPartners and AlliancePartners by
their level of expertise in implementation, maintenance support and
application integration.

“We’re actually calling it a specialization – it’s not a requirement.
Partners can elect alignment with their strategy,” said Susan
Kuchinski, director of worldwide channel services business development
at Avaya. “Partners have given us positive feedback over the logo
because they believe it gives them a leg up in the marketplace.”

The SDS program consists of four categories. The first, Implementation
Specialist, is for authorized Avaya BusinessPartners and
AlliancePartners that achieve advanced capabilities in implementation.
The second, Implementation Professional, recognizes “services only”
Avaya channel partners that do not sell Avaya products but have
advanced capabilities in implementation services.

The third category, Support Specialist, is for Platinum, Gold and
Silver-certified Avaya BusinessPartners and AlliancePartners who sell
across multiple platforms of Avaya products and solutions and are
well-versed in post-sales maintenance and support services. And the
fourth category, Integration Expert, recognizes Platinum, Gold and
Silver-certified Avaya BusinessPartners and AlliancePartners who are
experts in Avaya unified communications and/or contact center
portfolios and are capable of integrating Avaya applications in a
multivendor environment. These partners must also meet all requirements
of the Implementation and Support Specialist designations, according to

“These designations are intended for partners building their own
services practice,” Kuchinski said. “This program is absolutely a major
step in demonstrating our channel strategy and those channel partners
with service strength.”

Each services specialization carries its own Certified Specialist
requirements for IP telephony, modular messaging, contact center or
unified communications. The Implementation Specialist, Implementation
Professional and Support Specialist categories require a minimum of two
Avaya Certified Specialists in IP telephony and two in modular
messaging. Integration Expert, meanwhile, requires four Avaya Certified
Specialists in IP telephony, contact center and unified communications,
or a mix of other Avaya Certified Specialists.

Each designation category carries certain levels of competency and
certifications, as well as requirements for staffing in their service
centers, industry certifications, customer references and customer
satisfaction ratings of 85 percent or higher.

“We have probably 15 partners that have applied since the program was
announced to them,” Kuchinski said. “We’re seeing more of them
understanding the overall health benefits to their practice by
implementing a services practice of their own.”