Avaya execs kicked off their sales and partner conference predictably — reviewing Avaya’s eight quarters of revenue growth, a shift of nearly a third of Avaya revenue to the channel in the last two years, and significant new product developments and introductions. The company’s focus on total solution results accruing to users (via Flare), to IT infrastructure owners (via Avaya Aura SIP-based architectures), and to Business Process owners (via Avaya ACE integration to business processes) allows partners and sales teams to have discussions with various buyers and influencers in the unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) market. This fits well with Avaya’s theme of “The Power of We” — not only do the solutions help customers work better collaboratively, but the partner programs aim to bring Avaya and its channels together to fulfill these needs. Kevin Kennedy stressed that the accelerating improvements in corporate results (revenue, margin, net promoter, and patents) are the result of many initiatives across the company —from product development to partner programs and beyond. One of his slides highlighted Avaya’s intention to deliver Faster collaborations that lead to Smarter decisions and Better business — Avaya is offering Faster, Better, Smarter to both channels and UC&C buyers.

Since this was a sales and channel conference, I took special note of the partners who sponsored and presented to the larger audience. I saw a clear representation of the broad opportunities and capabilities that demonstrate Avaya’s commitment delivering through channels to market — in short, the partners demonstrated that they value Avaya’s capabilities and transparency in going to market.

  • Verizon highlighted its delivery of Avaya’s fixed mobile convergence solutions to its customers with communications and collaboration infrastructure on its premise.
  • AT&T highlighted its delivery of hosted Avaya Contact Center solutions.
  • HP highlighted its delivery of open, interoperable UC&C solutions to buyers in a range of business models from capitalized onsite install/configure to expense-based hosted solutions.
  • Arrow S3 highlighted a win that required it to partner with Avaya to understand and deliver critical business results improvements for a global logistics provider.

Avaya closed with detailed information about its programs that help channels deliver solutions. Avaya promised continuing profitability and predictability to its channel partners — and that is the lesson for other vendor strategists.

UC&C solutions will be carried to market on the backs of channels, and making them happy and profitable will be table stakes to participate in this market. Cisco has worn the mantle of favorite UC&C channel partner for years — Avaya has made it clear that it can and will challenge Cisco.