Since stepping into the shoes of Steve Bielawski when she became Avaya Canada’s new channel chief early in 2009, Mary Whittle’s first year has certainly been an eventful one for the company.
While the former Ingram Micro and Motorola executive was busy refreshing Avaya’s relationship with the Canadian channel around three Cs — coverage, competency and capacity – the parent company made several significant technology announcements, launched a program to poach partners from ailing rival Nortel Networks, undertook a company-wide reorganization to make the channel its primary route to market, and won the auction for Nortel’s enterprise business with a bid of US$900 million.
Just before Whittle came aboard, Avaya Canada set the ambitious goal of growing its channel business from 55 to 90 per cent within three years. The Nortel acquisition will help and so will Avaya Connect, the new partner program launching in February 2010. Whittle intends to be selective in growing the partner base, however.
“We have to be judicious about this and be careful about who those partners are. We need to make sure partners have the capability of selling and installing our products,” said Whittle. “We want to make sure both sides are successful so everybody wins. I’ve never seen a vendor who took on a channel-centric focus who didn’t exceed even their own expectations.”