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An all new Avaya charts out its channel growth plans for 2018

It took almost a year but now they are back after having completed the restructuring process. As it embarks on a new journey, Fadi Mubarak, Vice President (Channel), Avaya recalls of  how the whole exercise has been a learning experience while also saying that the new path that it will tread from this point will not be done without the help of its channel partners - 


Avaya embarks on a new journey following a successful balance sheet restructuring that shed billions of dollars in debt, freeing up $300 million in cash flows for investment in technology innovation and growth. The company is being listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and has begun trading on the stock exchange when the market opened on January 17, 2018.

After having emerged from Chapter 11, the objective for Avaya in 2018 as a company is to start growing again. 
“As the financial restructuring is behind us, we have free cash flow. So obviously we need to accelerate investments, and regain our fair market share, which we can now reclaim in the UC&CC business. Obviously, that can't be achieved without our partners. They have to be on board with us and our growth is equivalent as it is an opportunity for us and them because the revenues will grow,” says Fadi Mubarak, Vice President (Channel), Avaya.

The only change is that the strategy now is to encourage having an ecosystem of partners, not only direct partners, because customers are requiring more and more complex solutions. In addition, these solutions require different set of companies to collaborate to build a comprehensive solution. So Avaya will now have some traditional re-sellers, new application developers, new system integrators and distributors. 

All these together with the components have to collaborate to put a viable solution together and take it as a complete solution to the customers.  “A great example of that is when we go around the smart city projects in India; we see multiple components that are interlinked and not independent. So, our strategy will be to encourage collaboration, and develop our channel programs to cater to these scenarios in terms of enabling different types of partners on the different roles they are going to play, encouraging rebates and rewards for such types of behaviours. We also introduced cloud nomination for partners because apex models are now more and more in demand. So, this is how we evolved our channel programs and eventually you win more market share and result in top line growth,” says Fadi. 

Empowering Avaya partners...

Enablement of partners is a journey and is an ongoing process. Obviously, there are multiple needs and ways to start – right from events, showing them the new viable solutions that Avaya has put together that it wants its partners to take it to market, how it positions them against the value for the customers and so on. This would also involve explaining the value proposition that Avaya is going to take to the market and the building blocks and the skills needed of them. 

“Then we start executing on that for those partners who are committed to take these solutions and take that value proposition to market. The enablement happens in the form of online enablement for certain things, on ground enablement and classroom based training on other things. This is complemented by engaging together on the first few projects through our own professional services, working with them. This would ensure that the delivery is successful and transfer of know how between our professional service team and their professional services also happens. So our APS (Avaya Professional Services) strategy is to complement our partners and indirectly it is an enablement when we engage together,” explains Fadi. 

The APS are however largely driven by the complexity of the projects. With new technologies coming up frequently, Avaya does it very regularly as new technologies. As the things mature and the partner become self-sufficient, they then continue deploying the projects on their own.

Avaya has its traditional channel programs where it classifies its partners in emeralds, sapphire and diamonds, depending on the volume business and skills. 
Avaya always evolves the program according to the market requirements. And this is why it added the cloud badges, as it feels the cloud model, not as a technology but more of a financial model. So Avaya is investing with its partners to start launching different cloud offerings to address the market requirements. The advantage here for partners is that it gives them access to market segments that otherwise would not have been available to them. There are lot of start-ups, companies or big market companies who will not embrace complex solutions unless they are offered to them as an apex model for various reasons. 
“So that additional route to market will bring in increment, and recurring revenues to our partners and ourselves to grow the joint market share we hold in India,” he says. 

The global and Indian channel programs are very much similar in nature. They just have small variations to address specific market requirements. “So sometimes if we design a program in India, we will modify the programs existing in the US market a bit. The way we design the edge program is very modular and the partner can pick and choose depending upon their go to market interest. They can choose which part of program they will abide to and which will have its own rules and investments, and its rewards. Therefore, it has been designed in a way that we do not have to modify the program but we leave it to the partner to decide in which category or categories they would like to play and the program adjusts itself for those requirements,” sums up Fadi.