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Drive that growth through the channel

Avaya’s comments about increasing revenues via partners have got the thumbs-up from Billy MacInnes, who hopes it will act as an example to others

This article can also be found in the Premium Editorial Download: MicroScope: MicroScope: Making tracks to SD-WAN growth

It’s always good to see a vendor pledging to drive growth via the channel. But that doesn’t stop the hardened cynics from saying something like “The vendor was bound to say that anyway – when was the last time you heard a vendor say it wasn’t planning to drive growth through its partners?” or “Just because it says it, that doesn’t mean it will happen”.

And that’s true, of course, but it is still heartening to see vendors place more and more emphasis on the channel and partners for their future growth and success. In this case, it’s Avaya making changes to its partner programme to make it easier to drive growth through the channel.

Of course, there’s usually a quid pro quo in these circumstances – and it’s no different here. Avaya’s intention is to try to encourage partners to do more in the cloud. Dino Di Palma, Avaya president, Americas sales and global accounts, tells MicroScope: “Much of the coming year’s focus will empower channel partners to easily deploy cloud-based products as cloud adoption continues to skyrocket.”

Di Palma goes on to say that the expansion of Avaya’s range of cloud-based services to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), mid-market and enterprise “is expected to provide significant growth opportunities for all channel partners in 2019”.

It is true that all vendors say that kind of thing as a matter of course. Whoever heard of a vendor talking about anything less than “significant growth”? But that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

And Avaya supplies a couple of very interesting stats about its partner programme, noting that between 2017 and 2018, the number of partners eligible for rebates increased by 281% and there was a 159% rise in the number of partners with more than 10% growth.

This shows that the vendor managed to achieve two goals – to broaden the programme to reward more partners for their activities, and to deliver the opportunity for more growth to those in the programme.

That’s not as easy as it sounds. After all, it is not uncommon for partners in a programme to complain if the rebate pot is spread too widely because it often means it is spread too thinly as well. As for the rise in the number of partners achieving more than 10% growth, that sounds quite impressive too.

Of course, neither of those percentages may be as spectacular as they look if the increases are coming from a small number of partners. But they are still good for those involved, and more than 10% growth is still more than 10% growth for the partners who are experiencing it. I’m not going to knock it.

And the good news is that most, if not all, vendors are following the same path of trying to drive future growth through their partner base. Whatever problems and issues partners may have to deal with – possibly even existential threats for some – it is always worth remembering that they are still of tremendous value to vendors.

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