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With MD and country manager in place, Avaya focuses on SMEs

With MD and country manager in place, Avaya focuses on SMEs

Tim Gentry's advice for resellers is to get intimate with clients

Unified communications solutions provider Avaya sees growth in New Zealand as 100 percent channel led, according to its recently appointed ANZ managing director Tim Gentry.

Gentry, who was formerly with Avaya’s Government Solutions Group, was appointed to the role in June. Soon after his appointment he paid a visit to New Zealand to suss out the current partner ecosystem.

“What we’re looking to do is to strengthen our base and enable them, with our roadmaps and technologies, to help them as our lead to market,” says Gentry.

With recently appointed country manager Rob Spray in place, Avaya now foresees an emphasis — through its resellers like Gen-i, Ricoh and Connect NZ — on mid-tier customers, government and healthcare.

“There’s a larger growth opportunity among SMEs and middle tier customers,” he says. “We see that as the focus point, but in government and heatlhcare as well.”

Gentry’s appointment leverages his experience. Prior to his current position, Gentry was vice president for civilian and advanced programme and sales operations at Nortel Networks, which was acquired by Avaya.

Avaya, which specialises in unified communications, call centre technology and with the acquisition of Radvision in March, video collaboration solutions, all costed with smaller organisations in mind.

The company is not on the hunt for new resellers, but intends to build business through existing resellers. The message to them, which Gentry says could be applied to resellers across the IT spectrum, is how to get them to the point of being a true consultant in the age of everything-as-a-service.

“The question I ask is what do we want our resellers to be,” he says. “It’s the consulting approach. If you don’t understand a customers’ need and you’re just pushing that box, or solution, and not understanding how that solves the customers’ needs, or how it provides a return on investment, or how it gives them a competitive edge, you won’t succeed.”

Resellers can help customers define the cloud, which Gentry sees as an abused term, according to business necessity.

“The partners that will move forward in the next several years are the ones that will do that, solve the business challenges they have,” he says. “That’s how we’ll see our partner community grow and I think Avaya and our partners are getting there.”

A case in point is for companies that see call centres as integral as their first point of contact across their business, and want to improve customer engagement across multiple channels, from smartphones to social media.

The company’s staff in New Zealand are focused on channel development, Gentry says. The message to resellers, generally is that they need to become “intimate” with their client base, Gentry says.

“It’s not just from the value position, but the consulting sale that will get them to become successful,” he says.

According to Avaya, prior to Nortel, Gentry worked for Adelphia Communications, focusing on facilitating collaboration and engagement between Adelphia and the newly acquired companies, standardising information technologies to improve and streamline the services available to Adelphia's customer base.

Gentry holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business information systems, Master of Business Administration in international finance and global information technology from American University, Washington DC and is an alumnus of Harvard Business School, Cambridge, Massachusetts.


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