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Avaya resellers urged to focus on midmarket UC

Avaya resellers got a clear message from the company at this week's partner event in Boston: Higher midmarket UC sales are a top priority for Avaya.

BRAINTREE, MASS. -- Addressing an audience of a couple of hundred partners at Thursday's Partner Connection Day here, Avaya Inc. sent a clear message to attendees that its channel partners -- driven by vendor incentives, enablement, company expansion and a broadening portfolio -- will be the ones to accelerate the company's growth in 2013, after coming off flat, or slightly declining, revenue growth in 2012.

The heart of the vendor's message focused on grabbing a bigger piece of the $8.8 billion global midmarket (1,000 or fewer employees) for unified communications solutions. According to Avaya, it currently garners 16% of that market compared with Cisco Systems Inc.'s 24%.

John Spilotis, vice president of global channels at Avaya, told the crowd that shipments of Avaya IP Office 8.1 exceeded 300,000 units. Avaya IP Office 8.1 is the company's flagship UC solution for small and midsize businesses.

Of the six companies that Avaya acquired in 2012, he noted that the company was already delivering on its Radvision acquisition, pointing to the Scopia video conferencing technology, an integral part of its collaboration strategy.

Richard Chin, unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) business development manager North America at Avaya, urged Avaya resellers to bundle all three key components of the company's product roadmap: networking, video and UC&C.

To that end, company executives cited Avaya Aura, the company's enterprise communication architecture, for contact center, unified communications and conferencing, highlighting its more recent marketing strategy to offer product bundles, or pre-packaged offerings, rather than individual components.

This change in strategy, according to Jay Lassman, research director at Gartner, addresses the company's midmarket strategy to simplify its product offerings, making them more cost effective with fewer requirements for integration.

Avaya is a leader for UC and a leader for corporate telephony in Gartner's most recent Magic Quadrant reports.

Avaya executives also highlighted the scope of its recent product introductions, pointing out that in 2012, it introduced 57 new products, 25 of those in the fourth quarter.

And earlier this month, the vendor announced security enhancements for enterprise mobile collaboration. Next week, it plans to announce additions to its Avaya Collaborative Cloud, with new offers that target service providers and Avaya resellers. Avaya Collaborative Cloud, introduced in March 2012, is a framework for cloud-based collaboration using the vendor's UC, contact center, network and services. It incorporates the AvayaLive suite of solutions, including AvayaLive Connect and AvayaLive Engage.

Spilotis also noted the company's enhanced deal registration discounts, professional service discounts, the new mix-and-match licensing for its Aura software suite and a virtualized learning environment for Avaya curriculum that makes it self-service and available 24x7.

Tony D'Aurora, strategic account manager at Ronco Communications, a unified communications systems integrator that is headquartered in Tonawanda, N.Y., and has more than a dozen offices along the East Coast, attended the partner day event to learn more about Avaya's midmarket strategy.

"We sell mostly to enterprise customers but are looking to expand downstream and want to hear more about what Avaya has to offer SMB customers as well as partners," he said.

At the end of the day, D'Aurora liked what he heard about Avaya's UC strategy He also said he hoped to see more of Avaya reps in the field, something he said needed to improve.

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