Ali Hastings

Doug Woodburn
clock • 5 min read
Ali Hastings

Name: Ali Hastings

Role: Senior channel director, Avaya UK&I

Spirit animal: Chameleon

Walk-on song: Crystal Ball (Keane)

How would you summarise Avaya's channel philosophy?

The Avaya channel philosophy is to support our partners and their customers transition to the cloud at a pace that feels right for them and their businesses. With our own transition to a fully SaaS company now well underway, we know moving to the cloud can be challenging, so we provide a range of cloud options (public, private hybrid or a managed service) and the choice between a standard on premise, or opex/subscription so that everyone has the full range of options they need at any stage of the journey. The benefits to partners of being fully onboard with the Avaya OneCloud Experience Platform is that it offers one set of channels, one set of features, one set of users. It is a platform that treats agents, front-line workers, knowledge workers, back-office workers, customers, guests, and non-humans like AI, bots and IoT sensors as one user constituency. In this way, it provides partners with the ability to execute the ‘now what?' sale to continue growing monthly commission rates and relevancy across their customers' businesses. Ultimately, the hardest part of a sale is earning customers' trust. The Avaya OneCloud Experience Platform means partners don't have to start the sales process over every time they want to sell a new service.

Val Kilmer from Top Gun enjoyed a barbecue at my house

Tell us about Avaya's partner programme in 100 words or fewer…

Our Avaya Edge channel programme is the most partner rewarding in the industry. It is unique in terms of enabling existing and new partners transform their business model to the cloud - with full options to go at their own pace - while growing their value share.

How many partners do you work with in the UK?

We have a good mixture of long-standing partners alongside net new, born-in-the-cloud partners, many of whom we gained because of our more recent cloud-based selling models, and who would have not invested in Avaya before we had this option.

Are you looking either to expand or reduce that? If so, what partner profile does this apply to?

For us, it's not about the number of partners but rather having partners who continue to bring value to customers and re-invent themselves to be ahead of customer needs.

Have you made any major changes to your partner programme recently, or are you about to?

We adapt to market shifts. The partner programme is constantly evolving to incentivise partners and accelerate speed to value for customers.

Describe your perfect partner?

Perfect partnerships revolve around common strategic goals; ours is to reimagine the ways people and businesses engage and experience the world and build innovation that defines the future of work and the customer experience.

In which areas would you most like to see your partners invest over the next 12 months?

In a world where the UCaaS market is being largely commoditised, it's critical that our partners harness real understanding for the vast number of unique business challenges each and every customer has. More and more customers (and also partners) are adopting a wide variety of applications which all need to seamlessly integrate to improve the user and customer experience and drive positive business outcomes. There is a great opportunity for partners to match the challenges to the enormous potential that can be unlocked by Avaya OneCloud CCaaS and Avaya OneCloud CPaaS solutions to drive real differentiation and innovation.

How do you see vendor channel programmes and channel engagement models evolving over the next few years?

Successful channel programmes, like our Avaya Edge partner programme, evolve along with industry transformation. Nothing should be set in stone.

What are your priorities for the next 12 months?

Over the past 12 months the priority has been helping partners deliver the value of our technology to solve our customers' challenges by exploring the innovation and business value that the cloud can bring.

Do you feel Avaya is doing enough to cater for non-resale partners, including those that sell technology as a managed service, ISVs or agents?

The Avaya OneCloud portfolio provides options for all types of partners, allowing them to have the best solution in whatever ‘flavour' they need now and in the future. For example, we can provide options if they want to build and tailor their own solutions or they can buy them as they are.

Is direct-channel conflict ever an issue in your partner ecosystem, and if so how do you mitigate that?

The channel is our preferred model.

Name one trait you prize highly in partners, and one you deplore?

I prize loyalty very highly. You get so much more out of a relationship if everyone is open and honest.

How do you feel Avaya's margin proposition stacks up against your peers?

We are confident that our Avaya Edge partner programme is both the most rewarding in the industry and responds to changes in the marketplace so we can adapt promotions to ensure our partners remain competitive.

If you could wave a magic wand and change one aspect of your channel performance or strategy overnight, what would it be?

I would like to be able to predict the next big thing in people's behaviour that will create a seismic shift in the industry for the next decade.

What's the most challenging aspect of being a channel leader?

Having such a wide variety of excellent partners who, compete with each other, and I must remain un-biased and fair.

Tell us something about yourself most people won't know.

Val Kilmer from Top Gun enjoyed a barbecue at my house in Woburn some 12 years ago! I more recently had a cocktail with Tom Jones at the Charlotte Street Hotel as we reminisced about our Welsh roots!

What is your spirit animal?

Chameleon! (Somebody once told me I can change my persona to mirror the moment/individual etc…not sure if this a compliment).

What would be your walk-on song, and why?

Crystal Ball by Keane - a high energy, feel-good tune. Any song from Keane is close to my heart as Tom started out in a local pub in Crouch End, London, where I spent my early twenties and followed him through his career.

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