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Catalyst Telecom: Avaya Voice VARs Should Tackle Cisco

Avaya solution providers need to look beyond their voice-only heritage to converged solutions that include IP telephony, data infrastructure and video, industry executives said this week at the Catalyst Telecom Convergence Connection 2006 partner conference.

Though many Avaya partners have made the switch to IP telephony, they often have left the network infrastructure, security and video pieces to other resellers. If they don't act now to defend their turf, voice-focused partners will start to lose out as data resellers, systems integrators and audio/visual partners enter the convergence space, said John Black, president of Catalyst Telecom, a division of distributor ScanSource, Greenville, S.C., during a keynote address at the conference in Hilton Head, S.C.

"You need to retrain the mind-set of your salespeople. When you do move to the converged reseller model, you insulate yourselves from other competitors," Black said. "[Partners that don't expand their scope are] going to expose their voice business to the data reseller that's also going to sell voice," he added.

Black touted a "quadruple play" converged solution based on technology from four of its vendor partners, including VoIP products from Avaya, infrastructure and security wares from Extreme Networks and Juniper Networks, and video gear from Polycom.

It's an idea that resonated with Ken Mitchell, account manager at Advanced Communication Technologies, a Florence, Ala.-based Avaya partner that's looking to expand into networking. "We're seeing that we're leaving a lot of money on the table," he said.

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