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Avaya Ramps up Nortel Dealer Grab
Avaya's aggressive campaign to pick up Nortel dealers has ramped up. A recent Network World article reported that Nortel dealers interested in distributing Avaya product will be placed on a fast track program that skips three levels of basic industry training and begin with fourth level courses focusing on Avaya technology and product offerings. Avaya has been successful during the past few months wooing Nortel dealers while the Canadian supplier continues its downward slide into oblivion.It has been hard to miss Avaya's full page advertisements in industry magazines that speak directly to Nortel dealers to switch system suppliers. During the past year Avaya's go-to-market strategy has placed great emphasis on increasing sales through indirect channels at the expense of its direct channels. The cost to maintain direct sales/services operations is expensive for a major system like Avaya and expanding its third party dealer network has been a priority. The current Avaya strategy has many elements of the Cisco go-to-market strategy, not unexpected since the influx of ex-Cisco executives into upper Avaya management ranks: Chairman of the Board, and former Interim CEO, Charles Giancarlo and CEO Kevin Kennedy are Cisco Alumni.
Communication, who has shown strong interest in acquiring Nortel's Enterprise Solutions (ES) unit. Avaya, too, has been rumored to be interested in purchasing ES and may already have made an offer of $500 million according to an article a few weeks ago in the Toronto-based Globe and Mail newspaper. If either Siemens or Avaya is successful in their bid for ES it will effectively double the buying company's global market share and installed customer base and greatly expand market coverage. Market coverage is a primary success factor in the enterprise voice communications market. Cisco was able to make strong in-roads into the IP telephony market very quickly by leveraging its existing widespread network of data communications dealers. Microsoft plans to follow a similar distribution strategy to sell its evolving telephony offering by leveraging the many interconnect dealers who are OCS certified. Direct sales/service channels may remain important for traditional competitors like Avaya and Siemens to support their very largest end user accounts, but local and regional dealers will suffice for the majority of the remaining large and intermediate enterprise customers; small system accounts have traditionally been supported by the third party distribution network.