Networking vendor Avaya has admitted it took its eye off the ball and neglected its SME channel over the past two years, but said its restructure in October is reaping benefits.
The company is also revamping its channel certification programme, following concerns that the previous scheme made it difficult for customers to differentiate between the capabilities of competing channel partners.
Andrew Downing, senior sales specialist at Avaya's SME group, said the formation of his division in October was starting to pay off.
"We had received criticism in the past because the company was targeting large companies. Today we have a big new focus on the SME market. It's a huge opportunity.
"SMEs gave us focus we had not had for two years, and it's already made a big difference to resellers," Downing said.
The company has 40 resellers focusing on the SME market. Shaun Garrity, business development manager at Diamond-level SME distributor Caltell, said Avaya has pushed its IP Office product hard into the channel.
"There's more support and the product has been better marketed. There's more awareness of the product than there was of Alchemy [Avaya's previous telephony offering]," he said.
Avaya's new distributor support website was also a welcome addition, Garrity added.
Avaya's channel accreditation programme is also being revamped after concerns it was too generic for customers to understand.
The company's training and education arm, Avaya University, is putting together training courses to link with the new accreditation scheme.
"Two years ago, when we were Lucent, we had a global accreditation scheme across all products," Downing said.
Garrity added: "The problem with accreditation is it can be overcomplicated. I don't think customers care if you have tin, copper or lead certification. What counts is your professionalism and reference sites."
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