“Thinking Small” Earns Avaya Network Innovation Award

The networking world often comes down to a battle of big boxes. Big boxes, at times, are needed to address legitimate throughput constraints; at other times, they’re needed to cover up network inefficiencies. Seldom do the journalists who cover the networking industry praise a company for thinking small.

But that’s exactly what the writers at SearchSDN have done, awarding Avaya with their Network Innovation Award. At the center of the award is Avaya’s pocket-sized Open Networking Adapter (ONA)—announced in February and named one of the “Hottest Products at Interop.”

“The ONA represents one of the earliest SDN-IoT integration efforts,” writes SearchSDN’s Alissa Irei. “Via automated provisioning, the device… turn(s) the Ethernet-equipped endpoint into an intelligent ‘network node.”

It’s the “pocket-sized intelligent network node concept,” I believe, that caught the attention of the SearchSDN staff. From an IoT perspective, this is where it really becomes interesting. Prior to the ONA, connecting thousands of devices securely was burdensome, if not impossible.

Now, any device, regardless of manufacturer or type of product, can join thousands of devices and intelligently and securely participate in a centrally-controlled network scheme. The possibilities in many verticals are numerous. Hint: think diagnostic devices in healthcare, manufacturing devices, utilities, kiosks, and slot machines.

SearchSDN announced the award with the following headline: “Avaya’s ONA Appliance Marries SDN, IoT.”

Now I can’t resist: I thought it funny that the ONA is playing matchmaker. You can imagine the metaphorical dinnertime drama:

[Setup] Mr. and Mrs. SDN are so proud of their daughter. She holds so much promise: Simple configuration, programmable control, open interfaces—she’s destined for data center greatness.

[Now the drama] “Mom, Dad, guess who I am bringing home for dinner? His name is IoT. Well, his full name is Internet of Things. We were set up by ONA: You know, the new guy on campus.”

“Oh! But he’s not from the data center,” decries Mr. SDN. “We never imagined such a thing… what good can come from this?”

Ok, I digress; the headline distracted me.

The takeaway of the article is really that ONA is making matches that previously had been unthought-of. SDN capabilities to date have mostly been confined to the data center. In my humble opinion, the real excitement for the future lies in the campus. So, don’t miss reading the end of the SearchSDN article, where Avaya Senior Product Director Randy Cross talks about the future of the ONA.

Drama doesn’t get better than this…

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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