Channel anticipates year of UC opportunity

A new survey of channel partners by Avaya suggests that the channel is confident of a recovery in 2010, and that customers will invest in existing systems for projects that drive productivity and reduce operational expenses. At the top of the list, partners indicated that Unified Communications and VoIP technologies offer the most opportunity for their business and for meeting customer objectives.

According to the survey, 63% of channel partners surveyed expect demand to ‘turn the corner’ in the coming year, with 32% anticipating that it will happen in the first half of the year. In taking advantage of the upturn, 38% believe that Unified Communications (UC) will offer them the most opportunities in 2010, with Voice over IP (VoIP) next in line at 23%.

However, as demand recovers customers will remain cautious and three quarters of Avaya’s partners believe their clients are looking to extend and invest in existing systems rather than ‘rip and replace’. Customers are telling the channel that they have identified selected investment in projects to drive productivity (29%) and reduce operational expenses (36%) as the key strategies for the next 12 months.

Aside from UC and VoIP, the take-up of virtualisation (16%) and software-as-a-service (10%) were identified as the trends offering the channel the best opportunities in 2010. Comparatively few saw such drivers as the consumerisation of business IT and the greening of IT as a good bet (1.5% and 2% respectively).

“Our partners are overwhelmingly positive about the year ahead and see a range of opportunities open to them. Obviously we’re pleased about confidence in the areas of UC and VoIP but the focus on virtualisation is also interesting as this will be the de facto method for Avaya to deploy applications going forward,” said Jeremy Butt, vice president, Worldwide Channels. “Customers’ desire to invest in legacy systems is also good news for our partners, who can offer a solution in the form of Avaya Aura™, which preserves their investment today, reduces expenses and provides the next-generation communications platform as they move forward.”

“Our recently-announced Worldwide Channel Program – Avaya Connect – will support our partners in taking advantage of the opportunities 2010 will present and provide them with the support for demand-generation, solution and sales training they’ve indicated is critical for their success.”

Avaya announced Avaya Connect, its global program to drive greater profitability and growth for channel partners, at its 2010 EMEA Partner Conference in Prague, Czech Republic. The conference, held from November 5-6, was attended by over 500 delegates who represented 380 partners throughout the region.

Other findings from the survey include:

• 11% of Avaya’s partners believe demand won’t recover until 2011, though 10% claim that the turnaround has already happened

• More than twice the number of partners believe reducing opex rather than capex is a key strategy for their customers in overcoming the economic environment (36% and 14% respectively)

• Only 2% of partners believe growing regulation and compliance issues will create opportunities for them in the coming year

• 30% of partners believe the most important aspect of working with a vendor is the experience of fair and genuine partnership, with support for customer issues second at 28%