Avaya aims to be a serial winner

CANCUN, MEX. – Avaya has a new global sales leader in Canadian Pierre Paul Allard and with that a new direction in strategy away from selling point product solutions.

Allard, who used to be the president of Cisco Canada, told Americas channel partners at the annual Avaya Executive Partner Conference, that the new strategy will be entirely based on business transformation of customers.

He admitted that Avaya’s fiscal 2013 was a “bumpy ride” but is encouraged that the last two quarters were strong.

Avaya’s journey with the channel basically started in 2009, when the company went private. Allard said that as Avaya turned to the channel was just as the global recession put the business in crisis mode. The global recession chopped the market by more than 20 per cent and Avaya moved to a growth strategy. The problem was that the majority of the company’s profits came from just 200 global customers mostly in Federal Governments, pharmaceuticals and banks. Making matters worse was that those customers went through their own consolidation that reduced overall revenues for Avaya.

It’s only been in 2012 and 2013 where Avaya has been able to execute on its growth strategy, Allard said.

“The challenge for us is moving from managing the business and benchmarking in the industry to become a benchmark ourselves for the industry. We are moving into a serial winning or competitive winning position with people, products and partners to support that,” Allard added.

Even though Avaya is a private company Allard did disclose these growth margin figures. The company has grown in product sales to 59 per cent which is up one per cent from last year. In services, which is going to be a focus area for 2014, Avaya grew three per cent to 53 per cent. Corporate wide the company grew two per cent to 56 per cent.

The strategy for 2014 is to move away from being just a traditional voice seller to a company that can help customers absorb voice and adapt to each user in a BYOD (bring your own device) world.

“A large part of it will be in business transformation. How do we do this? We move from the phone on all desktops to a BYOD across voice and video. We move from call centres to experience centre. How we do this is by being customer centric. Everything starts with the customer and we are going to let them pull you (the channel) into this game,” Allard said.

Given this new strategy Avaya is looking to attract new channel partners that can get after either multiple market segments or diverse market areas.

“This move from a product and support centric model to one based on delivery and outcomes will produce more value to the customer,” Allard said.

This new direction will mean a significant change to Avaya’s channel coverage model. Allard outlined four new sales priorities for the company.

They are coverage area, market segmentation, portfolio management and strategic marketing.

Coverage area will see Avaya increase the number of customers they touch. Improve penetration by market segment and align to customer buying patterns. Allard said that just a one or two per cent increase would mean hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars going through partners.

Market segmentation will see Avaya leverage the channel as a force multiplier and adapt go-to-market strategies with the customer. It will also focus on capitalization on growth potential in the commercial segment as well as re-engaging with service providers. Allard added that the commercial and mid-market areas are growing faster than the enterprise.

Portfolio management will see Avaya encourage channel partners to sell the full stack and push to increase attach rates on apps, networking, end points and contact centre solutions.

Lastly in strategic market which will focus on increasing brand awareness, search engine optimization and increasing its advertising by 167 per cent. Social media will also play a vital role. Look for a big ad campaign from Avaya in 2014, said Mark Wilson, the CMO of Avaya’s channel business.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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