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Avaya connects global partner community

Alex Scroxton
Avaya has launched afresh global channel programme - Connect - designed to streamline itsexisting channel structure and, it claims, drive profitability andgrowth for comms VARs and system integrators.

After a year in the post,Avaya worldwide channel vice president Jeremy Butt believes he hasfilled in the holes in the vendor's channel strategy, and speakingtoday in Prague, put consistency firmly at the front of partners' minds.

"Our current situation is completely different around the world, it's overdue a refresh, it's hard to manage," said Butt.

Togetherwith Avaya senior vice president of sales and president of fieldoperations, Todd Abbott, Butt admitted that to-date, the vendor'schannel structure had been a complete mess.

The new framework will eliminate some of this complexity across all Avaya's geographies, including EMEA.

"Wewill have the same contracts for VARs, SIs and SPs," said Butt. "Thiscreates an equal playing field. The intent is not to sound communist,but to create equal opportunities. If we can do that then the creamwill rise to the top each time."

Avaya has been particularlykeen to re-jig its pricing rules, with Abbott saying that it had reliedtoo heavily on the special bid process and cheapened it as a result.

"Therestructure allows us to do the bulk of our business without specialbid," he said. "We want to be doing 20 to 25% of our business throughspecial bid, not 80%; it's a waste of OPEX, and we need to free thatmoney up for [resellers] to add value."

Avaya will be re-pricingits entire product line, with the pricing structure to be announcedbefore Christmas, and Abbott warned that the cost of kit could go up insome cases and down in others.

Other refinements include theelimination of post-sales rebates and the introduction of point of salecredits, and a vastly simplified training programme, down from 136learning and certification tracks to 13 solution-based tracks.

Avayais also introducing a geographic designation for partners designed tohelp multinational businesses whilst protecting local partners.

Connectgoes live at the start of next February, with the transition due to becompleted in a staged roll-out during 2010. Butt added that Nortelpartners will join the programme from 1 March, to give Avaya's channeltime to get used to the new set-up.

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