Avaya has revealed several tweaks to its Connect Channel Partner Program aimed at shifting Avaya's partner rewards structure from a volume- to a value-based model.
Starting in October, Avaya will no longer segment partners as Silver, Gold or Platinum based solely on revenue as it has done in the past. Instead, partners will be ranked based on their earning of a new set of certifications called Solution Experts.
According to the vice president of Avaya's worldwide partner organisation Richard Steranka, this shift in how Avaya ranks and rewards its partners was based entirely on solution provider feedback. "They really wanted a way to differentiate themselves in the market," Steranka told CRN in a recent interview.
Out of the gate, Avaya is offering six Solution Experts designations: Unified Communications for Enterprise; Unified Communications for Midmarket; Contact Center for Enterprise; Contact Center for Midmarket; Networking; and Video.
To reach the Platinum level, partners will need to hold at least three Solution Experts designations, while Gold and Silver partners will need at least two and one, respectively.
Partners' ability to earn these new Solution Experts designations is based on three factors. First, they will need to have a certain number of employees holding Avaya's sales, design and implementation credentials. Steranka said Avaya has not decided how many credentials partners will need to hold.
Second, partners will still need to hit a certain revenue threshold to earn a Solution Experts designation. Specifically, partners will have to reach and maintain a set sales quota for whatever Avaya product is associated with that Solution Experts designation. To earn the Unified Communications in the Enterprise designation, for example, partners will need to hit a certain revenue goal for Aura, Avaya's enterprise-focused UC platform.
Steranka said these revenue requirements won't be as high or as tough to reach as they were under the former program. He said Avaya hasn't decided what the new revenue targets will be yet.
Lastly, partners will need to reach and maintain a set customer satisfaction score to quality for a Solutions Expert designation.
Partner discounts at the Platinum, Gold and Silver tiers will not change under the new program.
Steranka said the program changes will go into effect this October, but partners will have until October 2015 to meet the new medal status requirements.