Telecoms vendor Avaya is looking to work more closely with data distributors to encourage the data channel to move further into the IP telecoms market.
Last month vnunet.com's sister title CRN revealed exclusively that Avaya was in advanced talks with Ingram Micro and Westcon. The vendor intends to work closely with any new distributors it recruits to encourage more data resellers on board.
"We have moved to the channel over the past few years. Currently 68 per cent of our business goes through resellers.
"We want to increase that to 75 per cent next year," said Martin Wickes, converged systems and applications director at Avaya.
Wickes played down potential disruption to Avaya's existing distributors, claiming that any new distributors appointed by Avaya would be expected to recruit new resellers, rather than cater for existing resellers.
He added that pre-sales staff from Avaya would be "embedded" into any new distributors to get skills at the firms up and running as quickly as possible.
Clive Longbottom, services director at analyst firm Quocirca, said: "Theoretically, it's an idea that is difficult to pick holes in. But in reality, embedded staff can be a nest of vipers.
"The pre-sales people at distributors may have a different bonus scheme that rewards relationships, not sales, which is where a vendor's pre-sales people usually get their bonus. Then there's the possibility of the vendor's salesperson 'going native'."
Longbottom added that Avaya would have to be in control to prevent this from happening. The telecoms vendor community continues to search for a formula that will retain data VARs.
Mitel saw several changes to its channel strategy last year, with the appointment of Enda Kenneally as channel manager at the firm. These included the appointment of Westcon in April, and the dropping of distributors Rocom and Caltell.
Westcon set up a separate division in the UK, called Voice Point, in March this year.
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