‘Avaya Edge’ Helps Partners Thrive In Software And Services Market

Chiradeep Rao
Channel Head, India and SAARC, Avaya

Mumbai: US based communication solutions company Avaya, surprised the industry with its recent announcement of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in the United States. While there were a flood of speculations about its future roadmap, Avaya maintained that its India operations would remain unaffected from the financial crisis at the global front. India, being Avaya’s one of the top 10 markets, has a significant contribution to its R&D efforts and global revenue generation. In India, the company operates through a strong partner ecosystem. In a move that reflects Avaya’s transition into a software-and-services led company, it recently announced the ‘Avaya Edge’ partner program.

The Avaya Edge partner program enables partners to thrive in the software and services market, by providing solutions and service that accommodate virtually the entire spectrum of business demands. In a candid interaction with Channel Times, Chiradeep Rao, Channel Head, India & SAARC, Avaya, highlights the salient features of the ‘Avaya Edge’ partner program. Rao also explains partners’ prospects in the emerging VaaS, Cloud and Software-and-services market.

CT: What is an impact of Avaya’s announcement of Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing on its India business, especially the channels?

We are operating our business as usual, and are fully committed to providing our customers and partners with the same innovative products and industry-leading service you have come to expect from us.

India is amongst the top 10 markets for Avaya, in the last three years we have seen around 13 -19 per cent growth and we expect this growth to continue. We constantly evolve and innovate ourselves to address customers’ growing demand for digital transformation through software-based solutions and smart analytics, while offering compelling paths for both partners and customers. In India, we have been closely working with State Governments and SMBs to deliver best customer experience while driving digital transformation.

We continue to run multiple schemes with our partner community. Our motivation and development continues to remain at elevated level.

CT: What steps the company has taken to retain partners’ confidence in the brand post announcement?

We are pursuing partners with a passion to help with its increasing focus on vertical markets. Partners have a significant contribution in our enterprise business and are also supporting our enterprise customers. They have been associated with us for the last five to ten years. The business they do is service oriented and customers have high dependency on them, so it becomes imperative for us and partners to keep the customer engagement platform at a high level, wherein customer needs are addressed at the right time. We will continue to meet the commitments we have made to our customers, partners and employees in the ordinary course of business.

CT: How will the move impact Avaya’s transition from a hardware vendor to a software and services company?

The announcement had no impact, we are operating our business as usual. We have been constantly executing on strategic transformation to a software and services led platform. We are focused on expanding our innovative product portfolio while driving sales and services growth in both the enterprise and mid-market segments. Our software & services account for around three quarter of total revenue. With our expanded portfolio, we are addressing customers’ growing demand for digital transformation, software-based solutions and smart analytics, while offering compelling migration paths for both partners and customers.

CT: What market prospects do you see for partners in the rapidly-expanding video collaboration market in India?

In today’s business world, video conferencing has become an important part of office meeting routines, it helps in improving team collaboration by minimizing the physical and cultural gap between colleagues. Business organizations are now looking at flexible, secured and high end solutions, and are shifting towards unified communications (UC) deployments. People are now looking for collaboration tools to be added to applications which will make their communication and work much easier.

In the Middle East, Africa and India region, Avaya’s videoconferencing solutions have been delivering outstanding growth, and are becoming essential tools, not only for collaboration, but also the basis of innovating mobile solutions for a number of vertical industries.

Video-as-a-Service (VaaS) has a lot of potential and it has increasingly become popular and comes across as an extremely valuable service. With growing adoption of advanced IT infrastructure, conference rooms in the organizations will become more complicated. VaaS will help in clearing the clutter and will be a helpful solution to adopt.

Avaya with its solutions is addressing major challenges faced by vendors. Avaya Equinox merges all the communication application infrastructure and cloud-based services into a single platform to offer a simplified user experience. Until now, integrating the wide variety of forms and methods of communication into a single flow has been major challenge.

As, Teleworking is growing significantly, need for video conferencing solutions will also increase. So, the future is clearly in cloud and services. However, the room-based video conferencing model is will maintain its position in the market.

CT: What is a significance of Avaya’s indirect business in the public sector, midmarket and enterprise segments?
Outside of the large transformational deals the majority of the business we do in India across verticals is through the partner eco system. We have been closely working with two State governments – Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh – to ensure implementation of an emergency response system (dialing the no 100), which is an updated system with faster response time. We are also in discussions with 10 other different State government representatives for implementation of this system. Our 15-20 per cent of the India revenues are from Government projects, we expect this number to go up to the “late 20 to 30 per cent” in the next 18 to 24 months. At Avaya we believe that transformation plays a critical role in ensuring seamless customer experience and emergency response system is a thoughtful step in that direction.
Our midmarket and go-to-market approach focuses on delivering simplicity, ease of doing business and channel enablement. Avaya delivers world-class communications solutions, and to deliver that in the best possible way we work with thousands of Avaya-authorized partners who provide knowledge and access to Avaya solutions.

Now, partners have gained more flexibility to approach the customer by offering hybrid cloud solutions in a market that has considerable growth potential and is looking for a cost-effective path to advanced communications. Avaya channel partners have a significant role to play in cloud deployments for midsize companies with their established knowledge of the customer and expertise with Avaya products.

CT: What is Avaya Edge Program? How does it help partners achieve their objectives?

In order to create a good understanding of our business objective amongst our channel partners, we have launched ‘Edge’- a channel partner program. The program addressed some of the biggest needs for technology partnerships – a simpler structure, greater benefits, and flexibility. We gave our partners a flexibility to decide in which market place they would like to thrive, i.e. Enterprise or Mid-Market since each of those segments require different level of profiles, skills and investments. This program is a reflection of Avaya’s transition into a software-and-services led company which will help partners understand Avaya’s channel strategy, software evolution and virtual platforms.

The Avaya Edge partner program enables our partners to thrive in the software and services market, by providing solutions and service that accommodate virtually the entire spectrum of business demands.

The key elements of the program include:

• Simplified Structure: Streamlined requirements and new gem designation levels—Diamond, Sapphire and Emerald—reduce complexity and the resources needed for partners to manage the program.

• Greater Benefits: Partners are now compensated for a broader scope of revenue, including not only hardware/product sales as well as recurring services and software.

• Flexibility: The new program is better structured to accommodate and adapt to ever-changing industry, customer and partner dynamics.

Organizations across India are looking at a digital transformation and are keen to work with technology partners that can help them in this transformation journey. We believe our program will equip the partners with the right skill sets to bring Avaya’s cutting-edge solutions to the market and will enable them to address the needs of our customers better.

CT: What is Diamond Status in Avaya Edge Program? How does Avaya qualify partners for Diamond Status?

The Avaya Edge Partner Program is built around our solutions and expertise. Through the program, we offer partners the flexibility to choose their level of participation and achievement of competencies. We evaluate their progress through program’s three levels Diamond, Sapphire, Emerald and provide the benefits correspond to their level status.

The diamond status is the highest level that can be achieved in the program. To achieve Diamond status the company has to meet stringent requirements for customer satisfaction and should have proven track record in delivering complex projects to a high degree of competency involving multi-vendor integrations. Diamond partners also get an opportunity to achieve various levels within the program.

CT: What are the key thrust areas of Avaya for the channel expansion in 2017?

The growing demand for cloud services has provided plethora of opportunities for partners. Today’s cloud-based model has provided partners new touch-points with customers, creating new opportunities for relationship-building, management, ongoing revenue streams and new customer acquisition.

Our channel distribution and mid-market teams are working together in building next level of partners especially for the commercial mid-market customers. This is being done across 10 cities on country wide basis. Also, we have multiple schemes for on-boarding and incentives for new partners.

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