Avaya Engage 2018, New Orleans. Photo by Alex Coop.

Published: February 2nd, 2018

Avaya’s Canadian subsidiary walked away relatively unscathed from the Chapter 11 bankruptcy distraction that faced the American tech company in 2017, and moving forward, the focus will be on educating customers and partners about the cloud, and aggressively pursuing new enterprise businesses to join the fold, according to the Canadian company.

Most of the mid-market customers didn’t even notice Chapter 11, says Corey Mindel, Avaya Canada’s channel leader, and the large enterprises that did, stood behind them the whole way. Only two networking-only partners were lost.

“We couldn’t have had the success that we had last year without the loyalty of our partners,” says Mindel, referring to Avaya going public on the New York Stock Exchange. “We’re seeing a re-engagement from the partner community and, from the customer’s perspective, we’re now getting lots of calls versus us making the calls.”

Corey Mindel, Channel Leader at Avaya Canada.

But most of those partners straddle between the smaller companies and the billion-dollar giants, says David Robertson, president of Avaya Canada. That’s where Avaya’s new cloud strategy is going to come into play, he adds, in addition to being an open-standards platforms.

“That cloud play will be very important,” says Robertson. “That’s where our message about getting aggressive and winning is important because we have that base today.”

It’s also resonated well with enterprise companies, as well as mid-market businesses.

Offering on-premise, public and private cloud platforms is the ultimate difference maker for the company because it offers maximum flexibility, suggests Robertson. Educating partners and customers about that flexibility will be a big part of 2018. Mindel agrees.

“If someone wants to stay on prem, there’s no problem from that perspective,” he says, pointing to Combat Networks, a Canadian partner, whose customer base, focused in the Ottawa region, is made largely up of government agencies and emergency services that build platforms on-premise.

While he wouldn’t specify exactly how many Canadian partners Avaya has, Mindel says the total is “in the hundreds, rather than the dozens” and that they have a presence in every province.

Boosting Zang in Canada

Mindel hopes to see the all-in-one cloud-based communications platform known as Zang make a bigger splash in Canada.

“There was confusion over the Zang portfolio,” he says, echoing Mercer Rowe, Avaya’s new senior vice president and general manager of Avaya Cloud, who told reporters at Avaya Engage that the messaging around its various cloud products was one of his priorities.

Zang, an app development platform with pre-built applications and tools, was announced in 2016. Mindel hinted at additional Zang releases later this year.

Maintaining and updating Nortel legacy systems is also a priority for Avaya Canada.

“We have a very aggressive plan to make sure that we retain our base,” Dave Robertson, president of Avaya Canada, told computerdealernews.com. “But more importantly, I think we’re very much focused on some of the Nortel legacy, which is aging, and we’re very aggressive about maintaining those relationships, maintaining those shares and helping customers see the value in next generation solutions.”