Avaya raises channel bar as stock stumbles

Lucent-born Avaya Communications has announced plans to boost its channel presence at the official launch of its Australian operations yesterday.

Avaya hit the stock market on Monday after Lucent spun it off tax-free as an independent entity (NYSE: AV) and has since struggled to report impressive trading results.

Day one saw stock drop 15 per cent to close at $19.87, and dropped another 20 per cent, or $4, to $16.19 on Tuesday. Local executives brushed off the share price fall as a result of Lucent shareholders selling their newly acquired stock.

Hoping to replicate the success of AT&T's 1996 spin off to create Lucent, Avaya instantly has revenues of $US8.3 billion and 34,000 employees worldwide as the former Enterprise Networks Group of Lucent Technologies.

Avaya Australia's new managing director, Steve Weeks, said existing Lucent distributors and reseller partners have been retained, with additional partners expected to join in the coming years.

The company's distributors are Anixter (structured cabling), Integrity Data Systems (wireless), Siltek Communications (voice solutions), and Westcon (data solutions).

Service provider partners include EDS, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Andersen Consulting. Weeks said Avaya will be "selective" about introducing new partners, appointed in line with company growth. "We don't want to create competition with our channel partners," he said.

Thirty per cent of Avaya's Australian business is now conducted through the channel, up from 10 per cent last year. Weeks said the company aims to conduct 50 per cent of its business through the channel within two years.

Meanwhile, Lucent's Bell Labs has also been split in two, with existing enterprise-focussed R&D staff hived off to the new Avaya Labs. Lucent currently dedicates 6 per cent of revenues to R&D, a figure executives expect will rise to 9 per cent next year. Avaya has 60 Australian staff employed in R&D, with that figure expected to reach 100 over the coming year. It employs 3000 R&D people worldwide.

The split off has also seen Avaya move out of its mother-ship offices to new headquarters in North Ryde.

Other executives appointed to the company include Scott Coles, director of Avaya Labs Australia, Sunny Rao, general manager, Avaya Australia eCommunications Applications and Consulting, and Peter Murray, general manager, marketing Avaya Communication South Pacific.

The company is a manufacturer of voice, converged voice and data, CRM, messaging, multi-service networking and structured cabling systems.www.avaya.com.au

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