Avaya has launched a new global channel program aimed at improving partner profitability and skill sets. New offerings under Avaya Connect will include additional financial benefits and a single, tiered global pricing list, enhanced technical, marketing and sales support and streamlined training and certifications, the vendor said in a statement. Partners will now be provided with credits at the time of sale, rather than post-sales rebates, significantly reducing processing times, the vendor said. It claimed to have also reduced partner application times to under two hours. Avaya has also pared down its training program tracks from 97 learning and certification options to 13 solutions-based courses focused on unified communications, contact centre and the SMB solution lifecycle. These will cover design and sales through to integration and maintenance. The vendor said training times had been reduced by up to 50 per cent, and new virtual education tools would further cut the time needed to complete qualifications. The overhauled structure would allow it to better recognise partners operating in different market segments, such as SME and mid-market, Avaya claimed. In a statement, worldwide channels vice-president, Jeremy Butt, said building stronger connections with partners would give the community a stronger chance at success as well as enable it to better service customers. Other initiatives in the new program include harmonising requirements for its Platinum, Gold, Silver and Authorised levels globally, as well as new Service Experts and SME Experts specialisations. The higher partners go up the competency scale, the more discounts and benefits were available, Avaya said. Avaya Connect was unveiled at the vendor’s partner conference in the US this week and will come into effect on February 1, 2010. The new program comes a month after Avaya secured Nortel’s enterprise solutions business for $US900 million following a bidding war.