Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Avaya Refocuses on Collaboration Value

October 31st, 2011 | Author: Larry Walsh

In terms of real news, Avaya had little new to say at its partner conference last week in Mexico. But what it did say about communications and collaboration could have significant impact on the channel and the market.

Avaya is putting much of the past two years in the rearview mirror. It’s fielded a number of new products, mostly around video and unified communications, and it’s placed an emphasis on partner-led sales engagements.

None of those are changing. In fact, Avaya is stepping up efforts to support partners in the delivery and execution of new technologies that enable communication and collaboration. It unveiled a number of new training, marketing and support resources to aid partners in reaching customers and deploying systems.

“Rapidly changing technologies and rising infrastructure costs have made it more important than ever to make smart technology investments. Customers need solutions that increase productivity and simplify complexity — that provide cost savings and maximize return on investment. This is what Avaya and its partners have been delivering and what we are committed to helping our customers realize — faster, smarter, better technologies that enable communication and make collaboration more seamless,” said John DiLullo, president of Avaya Americas International.

The new resources being poured into the channel are a continuation of Avaya’s “The Power of We” program, through which the company is promoting the utility and value of its communications and collaboration tools to business.

The reason no real news is a good thing is that the show of consistency. Solution providers are increasingly worn down by the continuous change caused by technology and the introduction of new channel programs. Avaya choosing to augment rather than change partner initiatives is a solid indication of a strategy that’s working and productive.

The focus on “communications and collaboration” is what deserves the most attention. No more is Avaya content to talk about telephony, PBX switches, routers and other networking gear. It’s not even talking about its software that powers and rides on these devices. The theme is more a recognition that the world is looking for quality of service, not just the service and applications that makes collaboration possible.

Avaya isn’t the only hardware vendors talking about collaboration. Cisco is pushing new, affordable versions of its TelePresence products to the SMB market and working with Citrix to make better quality video conferencing on thin clients. Microsoft is always talking about collaboration and is working with networking vendors, including Avaya, to make integration of its Sync server more seamless.

For years, we’ve heard about the network being the platform and the need for network acceleration. What’s coming to fore with vendors like Avaya is the advent that the user experience isn’t about the underlying technology, but rather the utility and benefit drawn from the actual applications. In this regard, Avaya is conveying an easily understood message of value with its communications and collaboration themes.

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Lawrence M. Walsh is CEO and president of The 2112 Group, a technology business advisory service that specializes in optimizing indirect channels and partner relationships. He’s also the executive director of the Channel Vanguard Council. He is the former publisher of Channel Insider and editor of VARBusiness Magazine. You can reach him at lmwalsh@the2112group.com.

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