Avaya Pulls in Two Nominations for "Best of Interop" Award

“It’s an honor just being nominated.”

Academy Awards TrophiesFeatureflash/Shutterstock

How many times leading up to a prominent awards ceremony–whether it be the Oscars or the Grammys–do you hear that statement?

As we enter this year’s Interop Las Vegas event, I am going to be bolder and say that we are honored to be nominated–not once, but twice–for the Best of Interop award. But we really want to win!

Avaya was shortlisted in the Networking category with a new feature called Fabric Attach, and in the Security category, with our Identity Engines product.

In this blog post, I am going to focus on Fabric Attach, a feature many of you may not be familiar with yet. At the highest level, Fabric Attach extends the benefits of the Avaya Fabric Connect architecture (based on an enhanced implementation of IEEE 802.1aq Shortest Path Bridging) to non-fabric-enabled devices and end points. It automates the identification and provisioning of edge devices or end points (phones, APs, cameras) that connect into the fabric.

So what’s the value? It really comes down to faster onboarding of users and devices with less chance of error. In a recent Avaya press release that looked at network downtime, it was found that 82% of companies experience network downtime as a result of errors when making network changes.

More dramatically, change-induced network downtime can have serious career-limiting consequences, with 20% of businesses acknowledging dismissals. By combining Fabric Attach’s “zero touch” edge provisioning, and device onboarding with the ability to “set and forget” your Fabric Connect core, the risk of downtime is dramatically reduced.

Even more importantly, the network engineer’s job suddenly becomes less burdensome with less manual provisioning and network firefighting. They can now devote their time to activities more strategic in nature.

Avaya Fabric Attach

To attach non-Fabric Connect-enabled Ethernet switches to a Fabric Connect network, it’s as easy as taking the switch out of the box and plugging it into a Fabric Connect-enabled edge switch, so that it can automatically configure itself with fabric-based services that have already been pre-configured in the fabric core.

Fabric Attach also allows for “zero touch” onboarding of end points. This is where our lessons learned from Sochi come into play. If you have been following Avaya and our role in the Sochi 2014 Winter Games, you’ll remember that it was one of the largest BYOD/guest environments in the world.

One of the challenges we faced was providing services for 40,000 different users, all connecting simultaneously, the day of the Opening Ceremonies. Identity Engines played a critical role in authenticating the devices and then dynamically assigning them to the correct VLAN based on the credentials.

That VLAN was then assigned to the correct virtualized network. What we are doing is taking this concept one step further and dynamically attaching the end point directly into the virtualized network. It’s basically adding a policy to Identity Engines that allows the network to create the VLAN (or SSID if its wireless), create the virtualized network (or I-SID if you are familiar with SPB) and map the VLAN/SSID to the virtualized network (or I-SID) all without user intervention.

This capability would have even further simplified things for the Sochi team, especially considering that we had to plan for 120,000 wireless devices connecting at peak periods such as the Opening and Closing ceremonies.

Avaya Fabric Connect

So although the Interop judges have some tough decisions to make as to who they select as their winner, we are honored to be nominated, and we still want to win!

In my next post, we’ll talk about Identity Engines and why this product is getting attention from the Interop judges.

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Avaya Refreshes Channel Partner Program with New Incentives

This past week, Avaya announced a series of changes to its channel partner program designed to incentivize activities around five quickly-growing market opportunities—midmarket, the contact center, next-generation networking, modernizing the customer base and the cloud.

“Avaya Channel Partners start from a position of strength, equipped with a portfolio of unified communications, customer experience and networking solutions that are unmatched in the industry,” said Global Channel Chief Steve Biondi. “We are making that position even stronger with new program elements that will bolster their capabilities and reach as we streamline how we work together. We want and need our channel partners to be successful and our customers to be happy – we can only do that as a united front that respects the individual concerns of each party.”

Avaya will consolidate a number of existing partner incentives, while introducing new incentives for partners who carry Avaya’s full product portfolio and deliver industry-leading customer service.

Avaya will introduce two rebate categories based on partner size and scope: Large, high-volume partners will be eligible for the Portfolio Growth rebate, and fast-growing partners who specialize in either networking or midmarket will be eligible for the Specialized Growth rebate. Neither rebate is capped, so the partner’s earning potential is only limited by their spend with Avaya.

Under the Portfolio Growth plan, large partners who meet specific revenue targets can earn a 3 percent rebate if they exceed a specific year-over-year growth target. Additionally, large partners who meet this threshold will receive favorable co-delivery pricing.

Under the Specialized Growth plan, smaller partners who specialize in networking or the midmarket and meet specific revenue targets can earn a 3 percent rebate if they exceed a year-over-year growth target.

The company ended its Grow Right program in late 2015, and will shift funding to these performance-based rebates in 2016. Additionally, Avaya will consolidate four separate theater programs for demo purchases into a single, standardized demo purchase program using the Avaya One Source quote process for instant discounts.

“We are in a time of intense transformation for channel companies and their customers,” said Paul Edwards, Director of Infrastructure Channels and Ecosystems at IDC. “To stay one step ahead of market demands, vendors need to continually assess and evolve their channel programs in ways that support, encourage and empower their entrepreneurial spirit.”

In other partner news, Worldwide Partner Organization Vice President Joe Lohmeier has been recognized as a 2016 CRN Channel Chief. Lohmeier helps manage the company’s relationship with its more than 9,000 partners worldwide. The executives on this annual list represent top leaders in the IT channel who excel at driving growth and revenue in their organizations through channel partners.

Avaya Wins Prestigious NorthFace ScoreBoard Award

Once again, we are excited to report news that Avaya and its employees have been recognized for creation of the industry’s best customer engagement experience.

Today we announced Avaya has received the NorthFace ScoreBoard AwardSM from Omega Management Group Corp for achieving excellent client satisfaction scores. It’s our second year in a row we’ve won this award, which is presented annually to companies that–as rated solely by their own customers–exceeded expectations in customer satisfaction during the prior calendar year.

All credit for winning the prestigious NorthFace ScoreBoard Award goes to the Avayans who continue to lead our transformation that began a few years back. In 2015, we continued to see a terrific response from our omnichannel contact center initiatives, which deliver 90 percent restoration of outages in two hours or less, including:

  • After four consecutive years of improvement in client satisfaction, we achieved an all-time-high average satisfaction score between “Very Good” and “Excellent” in 2015
  • A solid 93 percent of Avaya clients indicated that their overall support experience was either “Excellent,” “Very Good,” or “Good”
  • More than 3,000 customers took the time to nominate our employees for awards based on the outstanding support they received

While much has been accomplished, there remains more work ahead us. Through it all, our mission and philosophy remain simple:

  • Prevent problems before they happen
  • Fix problems quickly if they do happen
  • Provide guidance on how to fine-tune solutions so your investment in Avaya is protected and delivers on your business outcomes
  • Maximize the success of our customers

The ongoing transformation would not be possible without our current customers who continue to want world-class service that maximizes the value of their solution investment.

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Avaya Achieves TSIA Operational Best Practice Certification

On Monday, Avaya was proud to announce that it had achieved the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) Rated Outstanding, Assisted Support North America certification for delivering excellence across all significant modes of technical support.

The TSIA’s Operational Best Practices program is a rigorous certification process that inspects the capabilities of an organization across all relevant aspects of their operation on behalf of their customers. Avaya met more than 165 best practices criteria developed by TSIA, received validation by 50 leading technology companies, and passed a rigorous onsite audit conducted by seasoned service executives. This detailed on-site audit ensures that Avaya delivers outstanding customer support at the channel, center, region, and global level.

Winning the award is “a reflection of the hard work and dedication of Avaya’s support organization,” said Mike Runda, Avaya Senior Vice President. “We are pleased that customers can purchase Avaya products with confidence knowing that the highest industry support standards are met and are backed by outstanding quality after-sales with telephone, online case, and email operations support.”

We are proud of the certification, and how it recognizes the quality of service Avaya delivers.

This certification represents the latest in a long line of recognition that Avaya’s services organization has received in the last year:

Current and prospective customers should feel confident that Avaya continues to invest in delivering world-class service that helps them maximize the value of the solution investment.

Follow me on Twitter at @Pat_Patterson_V