Avaya Inc. and Westcon Canada Systems, Inc have entered into an open agreement that will see Westcon distribute the entire line of Avaya small to medium-sized business solutions, including the Avaya IP Office solution.

According to John Williams, sales manager for Avaya Canada, the subsidiary

was looking for a distribution partner with convergence experience. Avaya is on the verge of releasing its IP Office suite of products and needed another distribution partner. The company already has a distribution arrangement with White Radio Canada of Mississauga, Ont. White Radio is a division of Symbol Technologies.

Westcon, Williams said, had a leg up on other distributors, when the company was selecting a new partner because of its on-going relationship in the U.S. with Voda One.

The Voda One division of Westcon Group North America provides products, technical and professional services, support programs, training and tools such as product integration, joint manufacturing assembly, staging, configuration and design services, and marketing services.

Williams added that Westcon will bring a different community of resellers to Avaya.

“”What we need to do is create a buzz around IP Office with the existing networking partners. Certainly that is a strong part of Westcon (along with) the tools, training, and marketing of its Voda One division.

Currently, Voda One is only available in the U.S. However, Lynn Smurthwaite Murphy, general manager of Westcon Canada, said the Canadian operation will be bringing all of Voda One’s elements to this marketplace, except for the name.

She said that in terms of branding that most resellers would know the Westcon name over the Voda One name.

“”We want to see how much leverage and revenue we get. If it makes sense to bring the branding in Canada then we’ll do it. Westcon is known in Canada and Voda One is known in the U.S.,”” she said.

Also, with this partnership, Westcon has hired two new people for technical and product management and finished off its demo lab in Montreal specifically for Avaya.

Avaya last October created a division solely focused on SMB solutions. “”That signaled the start of the company’s new focus on SMB and it has been augmented with the Westcon partnership. They have a focus on the data VAR community and they can bring IP Office to a greater subset of resellers,”” Williams said.

Westcon markets to more than 3,500 resellers across Canada with offices in Montreal and Toronto.

Smurthwaite Murphy said she is seeing a momentum swing towards voice in the VAR community.

“”Data resellers need to get into this market and they need the understanding because there isn’t much traction on that side,”” she said.

Williams said that in 2002 Avaya had only 50 telephony resellers. This year’s the company has managed to attract 150 resellers of which half sell VoIP solutions. “”I hope to strengthen that,”” he said.

Westcon does carry competing products from Nortel and Smurphwaite Murphy is already positioning them differently in the market.

“”We will position them differently and work with both on target accounts. Both vendors will see benefits from this and our understanding of the IP market,”” she said.

“”Avaya was looking to add a second distributor and Westcon has focused on three separate areas that work for them – traditional switching, security and convergence. All three are high growth areas,”” said Smurthwaite Murphy.

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