Avaya sees opportunity in Asia-Pacific SMB space

Decision on NZ office yet to be made, however

Avaya plans set up shop in New Zealand and appoint a country manager, although there is no set time-frame for this, says Patricia Hume, Avaya’s vice president of SMB solutions.

The company’s Asia-South Pacific managing director, Carlton Taya, told Computerworld in May that a local office should have been set up long ago, so as to better service local enterprise customers, such as Vodafone and government customers.

Avaya competes with Cisco, Nortel and Alcatel in the Asia-Pacific region. In New Zealand, Telecom partners with Cisco and Nortel, and also enjoys an active technology relationship with Alcatel for its fixed-network services.

In May, Taya said Avaya had been in talks with Telecom for the past 11 months and that getting traction in the New Zealand market without a presence with the dominant incumbent would be difficult. Hume says Avaya is still having discussions with Telecom but there is nothing to announce as yet.

Avaya reported a significant drop in profits for the third quarter, which resulted in a management reshuffle. Former CEO Donald Peterson has been replaced by Louis D’Ambrosio, who was previously vice president and president of global sales and marketing. Net income for the third quarter was US$44 million (NZ$70 million), compared with US$194 million for the comparable period in 2005.

However, Avaya has had a successful year in the Asia-Pacific SMB (small and medium-sized businesses) space, says Jean Mauck, Avaya’s sales vice president for the Americas and Asia Pacific region. The company’s South Pacific market share is 14% and the last financial quarter in New Zealand was strong, says Mauck.

Mauck says one reason for Avaya’s growth in the SMB space is the company’s recent decision to “separate the sheep from the goats” among its resellers, so as to provide better customer service.

“We have de-authorised around 400 resellers,” says Mauck. “We are now focusing on resellers that are committed to Avaya.”

The company has clear requirements around certification and education for resellers.

Hume says she sees Avaya’s resellers as an extension of Avaya and the company doesn't want to have partners that are just in it for fast money.

Avaya is transforming itself from a traditional telecommunications provider, using IP networks, into a business communication solutions provider, according to Hume.

She says the future will bring a convergence of fixed and mobile networks, as well as integration of web services, mobility, data and telephony. She also thinks the SMB market is going to help drive that process because SMBs are mobile, are out and about and don’t necessarily have somebody taking calls and messages for them. They are also often not technologists, she says.

Hume believes that new integration, interaction and convergence technologies will evolve, through an ecosystem of technology and web companies.

“In the future, we are going to learn how to use these emerging technologies to be more productive,” she says. “And more productivity will lead to economic growth.” Avaya has sold 2,000 systems in New Zealand so far.

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