Enterprise Communications


The New Avaya Debuts for Channel Partners

by Rob Arnold 27 Oct 2010
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Last week I spent several days in Las Vegas attending the Avaya Partner Conference, an event the company utilized as a forum to introduce itself as the “New Avaya”.

A first class event in every respect – from logistics, to accommodations, to conference venue, and the packed and smoothly run agenda – it was an impressive debut for the transformed company.

Much of the content focused on how far the company has come and how much it has changed over last two years to become the new Avaya. This general timeline stretches back to the introduction of the Avaya Aura architecture and Aura branding, the acquisition of Nortel Enterprise Solutions (NES), a refresh and expansion of the newly acquired data networking portfolio, unveiling of Avaya Aura 6.0 which introduces next-gen platforms that begin to consolidate and merge Avaya and NES portfolios, launch of and subsequent improvements to the combined Avaya Connect partner program, and most recently introduction of the new video portfolio and the Avaya Flare Experience.

References to the progress made within this timeline was an important reminder for me of just how much Avaya has evolved in such a short time. The company is now 40% larger than it was prior to the NES acquisition. It now draws a substantial majority of its revenue through its partner channel rather than direct. And the company is much more of an end-to-end UC&C solutions provider with much stronger UC product portfolio, with its own data networking and video offerings, and a strengthened services organization – all achieved via internal R&D and leveraging NES assets.

Showing off Avaya’s R&D prowess, the demo pavilion was a full exhibit hall of its own. Partners had access to all types of new wares coming from Avaya. I did not have time to visit as many as I would have liked, but my demos were highlighted by the Avaya Desktop Video Device (the tablet) which truly does bring Avaya’s entire applications portfolio together, the Avaya Echoes enterprise collaboration tool for recording, archiving, and searching conversations (voice, video or text-based), as well as the latest and upcoming advancements for IP Office that demonstrate the vendor’s stated commitment to protect its installed base while blending the best of the IP Office and BCM platforms.

There was a definite energy throughout the event. Avaya executives were enthusiastic about their company’s present positioning and future opportunities. Joel Hackney, SVP Global Sales and Marketing, emphasized that Avaya is not in retreat or defense mode but is on the attack to ahcieve growth. Steve Bandrowczak, VP & GM, Data Solutions gave a passionate presentation stressing the differentiators and importance of the data networking portfolio for Avaya as an end-to-end UC&C solutions provider, and as one of Avaya's fastest growing busines units.

For their part Avaya channel partners were looking forward as well. Whether heritage Avaya or heritage Nortel the majority of partners I spoke to have accepted the necessary consolidation and rationalization of the combined product portfolio. Most have since moved on to learn about and to help shape the new Avaya Connect partner programs being built out for them. In this regard Avaya made it clear that the Connect program emphasis is on value over volume and that concerted efforts are being made to improve satisfaction for both partners and customers alike.

While there are still challenges ahead, both internal to the company and with respect to the competitive market, it was a convincing and timely show of force for the “New Avaya”. 

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