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Unitrends commits to an out-and-out channel sales model

Unitrends has announced it will conduct all business through its channel partners. Also this week, Avaya launched Collaboration Pod for midsize enterprises; Tech Data globally expanded TDCloud; and more.

Unitrends has changed its go-to-market strategy, announcing this week that the company will move to a complete channel sales model. Mike Dalton, the data backup vendor's newly appointed channel chief, said the company aims to push further into the small and medium-size business (SMB) space using its channel exclusively.

"Essentially, as a company, our primary focus … is really the SMB marketplace. And for us to grow, we really need to be fully engaged with the channel to make sure that we maximize our reach for that size of customer," Dalton said.

As of today, Unitrends already derives a large portion of its annual revenue from indirect sales -- between 70% and 80% -- according to Dalton. He noted, however, that closing the gap isn't easy. "It's a big change for us. It's a cultural change, and it's a change in the philosophy of the company," he said.

"We've got to make sure our sales organization is fully engaged and fully onboard with this strategy. And I think we're there, but there's always work to be done in that process. And equally, we've got to convince the channel that what we're saying is true," Dalton added.

"For channel partners to have confidence to invest in learning about our technology and selling our technology, they have to feel secure with the fact that … they're suddenly not going to have deals ripped from underneath them at the last minute by a Unitrends sales rep selling direct," he said.

Mike DaltonMike Dalton

Unitrends introduced its first formal partner program in 2013 and will unveil a redesigned program in the third quarter of this year. Dalton is responsible for establishing the strategic direction and expansion of the vendor's channel program. With the redesigned program, Unitrends will continue offering its UniRewards program and add several new features, Dalton said. The company is using partner feedback collected from surveys and in-depth interviews as guidance for the redesign.

Avaya expands Collaboration Pod to midsized enterprises

Avaya has released Avaya Collaboration Pod 2400, a new model for its unified communications and contact center product. Designed for midsize enterprises, the Collaboration Pod 2400 Series combines applications, servers, storage, networking and management components, using technology from Avaya, HP, EMC and VMware. The release of 2400 follows the success of Collaboration Pod 4200, which is intended for cloud service providers and large enterprises, Avaya said.

Avaya is launching a Collaboration Pod onboarding program to quickly train and equip channel partners. A demo program for customers and partners will also be made available.

The new Collaboration Pod is slated for global release later this month, with Collaboration Pod Elite workshops for partners scheduled for July in the U.S., October in the U.K and November in Singapore.

Tech Data introduces TDCloud in Canada, Europe

Distributor Tech Data Corp. has advanced its cloud strategy with the global launch of TDCloud, its cloud distribution system for channel partners. TDCloud provides the Tech Data Cloud Solutions Store, as well as education and enablement resources to help partners establish cloud businesses. The distributor will roll out TDCloud to partners in Canada, France and the U.K., and, over the coming weeks, additional European countries.

CompTIA retires TechAmerica name, integrates new public sector groups

IT industry trade association CompTIA has dropped the TechAmerica name and announced that TechAmerica's public advocacy work will now be carried out under the CompTIA banner. CompTIA acquired tech advocacy group TechAmerica in May 2014.

CompTIA also added three public sector groups to its advisory councils and member communities: the Human Services IT Advisory Group, the Space Enterprise Council, and the State and Local Government and Education Council.

Corvisa names John Heaps as new channel chief

Cloud communications provider Corsvisa has appointed John Heaps as the company's senior vice president of global channel sales. In his new role, he will oversee Corvisa's global channel sales strategy and partner relationships. Alongside the appointment of Heaps, Corvisa named Greg Wright as its senior vice president of global enterprise sales and Joe Olson as its senior vice president of customer excellence.

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