Avaya readies specialization-based partner program

Networking vendor approaches end of its "volume-to-value" partner program transition

Miles Davis, Avaya Canada channel chief

Miles Davis, Avaya Canada channel chief

Avaya continued its partner program journey from a focus on volume to a focus on value, introducing six new specialization areas that will make up the basis of its Avaya Connect program starting next year.

The program introduces solutions expert designations including enterprise and midmarket unified communications, enterprise and midmarket contact centre, networking, and video, which will become the primary way that partners advance through the levels of the Connect program. Partners will need to have one of those designations for Silver level recognition, two for Gold, and three for Platinum. Avaya Canada channel chief Miles Davis said the program will allow even a smaller partner focused on the SMB segment to advance through the ranks much easier than in the previous structure, where overall Avaya revenues at the partner organization were the primary decider.

“The program was very much focused on how much you sold overall with Avaya. It didn’t take into account what you were selling,” Davis said. “We’re aiming to help recognize partner who are capable of combining multiple portfolios into a customer solution.”

Under the revised program, Davis said he foresees many SMB-focused partners starting with either midmarket unified communications of contact centre, then adding the other midmarket-focused specialization, and finally reaching Platinum with either networking or video.

In addition to the technical training for the specializations, partners will have to meet customer satisfaction survey result expectations and meet minimum annual revenue requirements. One of those is going up, while the other is going down. The company is moving from requiring three customer satisfaction results for silver, five for gold, and ten for platinum, to six, eight, and twelve, respectively. But at the same time, revenue requirements are being cut significantly. Davis said the average partner will see clip levels “30 to 60 times less” than they would have had to achieve under the previous program.

Davis said the new model with its decreased clip levels will allow smaller and more specialized programs to rise through the ranks, and better represent their relationship with Avaya to customers.

“While will regional partners with regional revenues, they’ll be able to show their local customers that they have the skills to meet their solution needs, as opposed to a model that really fairly reflects national partners only,” he said.

The new program goes live on Oct. 1, and partners who have appropriate credentials at that point will be able to get the new benefits of the program from that date, but Avaya is treating its fiscal 2015, which begins Oct. 1, as a transition year, and partners who have yet to meet new requirements will not be “demoted” until Oct. 1, 2015, when the transition will be completed.

The changes were previously announced to partners at Avaya’s Executive Partner Forum in Cancun last November, and details of the specializations, and customer satisfaction and revenue requirements have just been published.