It’s been 90 days since Ange Valentini took over as Avaya Canada Channel Chief. In that time, the former Cisco Canada CFO has traveled from coast-to-coast meeting with channel partners, customers and employees to assess the state of the business in Canada for the networking and collaborations vendor.
Valentini started 2016 as a direct competitor to Avaya but he now sees the Canadian operation as a great overall opportunity. He added that Avaya is either first or second in many market segments.
But he also understands that his commitment to the company and its channel network is an important step in growing the business after more than a year of instability in senior leadership at Avaya Canada. To that end Valentini told CDN that he loves going to work every day at Avaya Canada and wants to remain with the organization long term.
Valentini is also quite aware that he will be battling his former company, where he spent more than 20 years in various roles.
“Cisco is a big gorilla and they are excellent in executing their strategy. They have great products and they know how to grow a business. I have a lot of respect for them, but we too have our niche and we understand where we can play. That is the strategy and I believe Avaya has a great opportunity in this space,” he said.
Also in those 90 days the channel partners he met with find him refreshing and are glad to see someone of his caliber now at Avaya, Valentini said.
Don’t expect any significant channel changes now that Valentini is on board at Avaya. He said the plan now is to align channel partners with key new product initiatives such as Zang and Breeze. “The program is designed for partner’s skill set and it enables them the ability to compete fairly. And, we’ll reward them whether they are a big partner or a small partner. Those who make the right investments with Avaya will grow and that strategy is not going to change,” he said.
Part of the assessment process for Valentini was to gage the overall channel coverage for Avaya. He said that this is still a work in progress, but in the same token he believes Avaya Canada has a great set of geographic partners in place as well as vertically focused partners.
“The message we are bringing to partners is that the direction of the company is moving from hardware to a software base. That’s the message and they are aware of that. We both know where the market is growing and the work now is to align those partners for growth. That’s the strategy,” he said.
One target area Valentini is looking at is the SMB market. He is working on some new promotions to address that space and meet the demand with the channel.
“This is an exciting and great opportunity for me. Avaya has great potential and I wake up every day looking forward to the day ahead. This job really gets me going and the opportunity to develop a great partner ecosystem is really exciting,” Valentini said.