Vivek Singh, Director – Sales, Enterprise and Global, Avaya, shares the company’s channel strategies for 2019
Key highlights 2018 and opportunities for 2019
2018 was a positive year for us and our partners. Over the course of 2018, we have made significant investments in technology partnerships which have paid dividends, leading to fully formed solutions, that are now available on Avaya’s platforms and, crucially, to our channel partners.
These products, developed through our DevConnect and AI Connect programs, provide partners with vertical-specific, readily integrated solutions that can be more easily deployed. These programs also helped us onboard new partners onto our ecosystem and also provide them with greater incentives and flexibility to grow.
In 2019, we are looking forward to further innovate, transform, and grow in value and relevance to our channel partners. This year, Avaya will be focused further on three major aspects to drive its channel strategy.
First, an intense focus on the cloud, making cloud services available to every partner – no matter their size/business models. In 2018, our cloud partner ecosystem has grown by 50 per cent year-over-year, with 144 partners in 48 countries offering Avaya cloud services.
Secondly, our prime focus is going to be on enabling the partner community to move from one value proposition to more advanced ones. Moving ahead, Avaya will be focused on inclusivity and open innovation. We aim to empower our channel partners to provide holistic solutions to their customers through our open platforms (APIs), creating opportunities for innovation-minded channel partners and “take the lead on innovation”.
Thirdly, Avaya would also be launching a series of APIs on the Avaya Communication Platform as a service that customers and partners can accelerate their innovations and go to market more quickly. For the channel industry at large, we have made significant investments in helping them better align with emerging technologies.
Top tech trends for channel community
Three technology trends that the channel community should be betting on are:
- Adopt voice technologies: Consumers love to communicate with the voice and the growth in the smart speaker market has proven that. Of those who own a smart speaker, 50 per cent say they’d like to use it to access an organisation’s customer service team, according to research by SuperServe. Moreover, consumers want their voice-enabled technologies to make things more convenient; 71 per cent would like to bypass identification and verification questions by using voice biometrics. So clearly, this is an opportunity for the partner community and a must do!
- Phone and video are here to stay: There’s no substitute for a first-class phone interaction, and as per the SuperServe report, four in five consumers say phone is the best way to connect with someone quickly. Similarly, 73 per cent say that the phone is the easiest way to explain a service problem, and almost the same number say they get the best answers over the phone. The other trend which is here to stay is video interactions. Video provides a richer customer experience, allowing consumers to more easily get their point across and customer service agents to better sense their customers’ emotions.
- Use AI to deliver intelligent experiences across all channels: Consumers want the organisations they interact with to be smarter. 73 per cent would be happy for AI to ‘notice’ when they’re having problems with a website and be proactively offered help. Similarly, 40 per cent consumers actively want AI to make better recommendations about new products and services. As we move forward, providing intelligent customer experience will become a norm, and this is a great opportunity for partners, to invest in AI and help businesses deliver exceptional customer experiences.
Channel directions for partners
As technology evolves, one critical aspect that every business and customer will be focusing on is experience. A recent global poll by Avaya found that 40 per cent of executives believe that their company’s customer experience journey is “poor” or “average,” with 93 per cent saying that they will be focusing more on improving the customer experience. So clearly, businesses are looking at enhancing customer experience and this will be a key area of focus for the channel community, as we move forward.
At Avaya, we are focused on helping businesses deliver exceptional customer experience. To make this happen, we believe, it is important to have an open and agile technology stack and embrace emerging technologies such as AI, ML and blockchain amongst others.
Few key focus areas for us in 2019 will be :
- Avaya cloud offerings
- Avaya vertical specific and readily integrated solution that can be more easily deployed
- Application specific within large accounts
- Further penetration and coverage in mid-market in 10 more cities
- Services led in key markets
- Low end SIP phones and other new products which we are launching will enable our growth further with partners