Compare Plans

August 18, 2023

Avaya and its Partner Ecosystem

This blog post was written by Blair Pleasant, President & Principal Analyst of COMMfusion LLC.

As Avaya CEO Alan Masarek told the audience of customers and partners at the recent Avaya Engage customer event and Partner Forum in Orlando, “Avaya is back. We want customers and partners to say I choose Avaya.” Avaya is on a quest to recapture the sense of trust, and based on my conversations with a number of customers and partners, I’d say mission accomplished!

With the recent financial hardships behind them, the company has gone from financial weakness to financial strength. Avaya has made changes to its product line and culture over the past few months, providing channel partners with new opportunities to grow and expand their customer base. In addition to a streamlined product offering, Avaya introduced new branding, partner programs, marketing campaigns, and sales motions to better support channel partners. 

Avaya has had its share of challenges over the past couple of years, but the partners I spoke with at Engage liked what they heard, and are more optimistic about the future. It’s no secret that Avaya’s customer base is the envy of the industry, with 90,000 customers in 190 countries, and more than 93 million unified communications (UC) lines deployed. Avaya and its partners serve 90% of the US Fortune 100, the world’s top 10 airlines, 48 of the world’s top 50 major banks, and governments in 40 countries. There’s tremendous opportunity in helping these customers move to the cloud when they’re ready.

Outside-In Partner Approach

With 70-75% of revenue coming through partners, Avaya acknowledges the key role partners play, and is refining it go-to-market model by taking a more strategic, prescriptive, and proactive approach. Understanding that different partners have different requirements, the company is taking an “outside-in approach,” looking at what partners need to accomplish in order to modernize their customer base. According to John Lindsley, Vice President, Channels, the program itself is built with a partner-first approach, rewarding the value that partners bring based on longer-term success factors and relationships. The goal is to protect and transform the installed base while pursuing new business opportunities and ensuring partner success. To this end, Avaya expanded its channel capacity and is investing in its distributors and resellers to support its cloud-first strategy, while re-energizing sales with service providers and system integrators to help customers receive their desired business outcomes. 

Innovation Without Disruption

Avaya’s new mantra of “Innovation without disruption” lets customers add new cloud capabilities and embrace the cloud journey at their own pace without disturbing their existing on-prem infrastructure. 

With the new “Choose Your Journey” marketing message, Avaya is making it clear that there’s no one right path to the cloud. Avaya’s strategy helps partners meet their customers where they are in the market, as they can support full on-prem, pure cloud, or hybrid deployments. By offering multiple routes to the cloud, Avaya partners can become trusted advisors and true advocates.

As the winds of technology shift towards customer experience, Avaya reset its north star toward the Avaya Experience Platform (AXP), providing a migration path for existing customers while offering an alternative for new customers. Recognizing that CX is the path forward, Avaya can help partners leverage their installed base of contact center customers while providing enhanced capabilities. For example, customers can keep their core platform on-prem and add cloud-based enhanced capabilities such as web chat and digital channels, as well as new AI capabilities.

The innovation without disruption message is playing well with the Avaya partners I spoke with at the Engage event. According to David Lover, VP Strategy and Technology at ConvergeOne, “Avaya had us at hello with that message. We recognized that the world isn’t moving to cloud the same way and we still have a ton of customers that haven’t fully embraced the cloud and want to stay on-prem for a variety of reasons.” He noted that Avaya’s approach lets customers add innovation on top of what they already have, enabling customers to modernize without the disruption that would typically happen with other approaches. Lover added, “Innovation without disruption is music to our ears and aligns with our existing philosophy.”

According to Steve Maleno, President of CSG Global Consulting, “There’ve been a lot of changes recently and we now have a true partnership with Avaya. The idea of meeting customers where they are and giving customers choice was non-existent before. Avaya lets us give customers a roadmap, and we’re not dictating what customers need to do and we can make it easier for customers to do what they want, when they want.” Maleno notes that some customers will never go full cloud and prefer hybrid solutions that let them bring in omnichannel, AI, and other technologies. “If you disrupt a university or hospital communications system, it’s not just frustrating - it can be dangerous. They need over-the-top and hybrid solutions that work with their infrastructure.” 

ConvergeOne’s Lover agrees, noting, “The vast majority of our Avaya contact center customers are voice-only, but they want to add digital channels. Being able to add digital channels in the cloud on top of their existing contact center infrastructure without doing a rip and replace is huge.”

Of course Avaya can’t provide all the capabilities contact center customers need, and works with AI and contact center technology partners such as Cognigy, Google, Afiniti, Microsoft, Verint, Alvaria, and others, providing channel partners with further sales and integration opportunities.
For example, Avaya  and Alvaria recently expanded their partnership in order to expand Avaya's outbound capabilities to deliver proactive customer outreach experiences while ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements. This partnership builds on the innovation without disruption message, as these enhanced capabilities can be added on top of existing Elite contact center and Enterprise Cloud solutions platforms. When discussing this partnership, Gary Levy, SVP Global Channels Sales, Alvaria, highlighted Avaya’s approach to choice, noting that Avaya works with multiple partners and it’s up to the customer to choose what works best. He added, “Alvaria and Avaya continue to bring innovation and reduce friction to truly innovate and transform. We’re bringing best-of-breed products together to let us each do what we do best and make it easier for customers to adopt these solutions.” Levy noted that “The trust in the Avaya channel is a huge benefit for Alvaria – channels have to build trust and Avaya has done a good job of this.”

A New Avaya

Another key change at Avaya has been the revitalization of its culture. As demonstrated throughout the Engage event, the recent changes in the company leadership and strategy have created a renewed sense of enthusiasm among partners, customers, media, analysts, etc. There’s a feeling of optimism that I haven’t seen in many years. 

Trust is key, and as CEO Alan Masarek explained, As we go forward, we want to recapture and redevelop a sense of trust. For example, Avaya has taken steps to be more transparent with its roadmap in order to build trust with customers and partners.  

Partners have noticed the difference in the way Avaya operates. Noting the changes in Avaya in the past few months, Maleno highlighted a new level of openness and responsiveness at Avaya, along with a can-do attitude for supporting partners. Lover agrees, acknowledging the consistent messaging from Avaya, stating “They’re doing what they say they’ll do and are being very transparent. Our Avaya customers are large and complex and can’t just shift to the cloud overnight. Avaya’s story gives them comfort and lets them see a path to the future.”

I was very encouraged by what I heard from Avaya customers and partners, and can agree that Avaya is indeed back.

Loading page...
Error: There was a problem processing your request.