Ali Hastings is Regional Channel Director, UK&I, at Avaya. She tells us about how Avaya works with channel partners and how it ensures that partners flourish in a competitive market.
Describe your current job role and the parts that are somewhat challenging?
I am the UK&I Regional Channel Director/Leader for Avaya. I am responsible for the commercial and strategic direction of the channel team and, most importantly, ensuring we work collaboratively and in true partnership with our channels locally via our Partner Edge Programme.
As we continue our successful transition to a SaaS company, we are working closely with our partners to ensure that they have the right resources and knowledge to transition to the consumption models that our customers demand, while fuelling their ability to fulfil their immediate and future needs. We work in a fast changing and uncertain environment and our top priority has been being there for our business partners to support them to navigate this phase.
Can you explain how your company works with channel partners?
The Channel Account Managers in my team ensure our channels are fully abreast of the Avaya One Cloud portfolio today and our future roadmap. They work in collaboration with our partners to help us collectively differentiate and shape our roadmap in-line with customer and industry demand and market changes and challenges. Our well-established Edge Partner Programme is built to incentivise and ensure our business partners’ readiness to drive business as well as create incremental value to customers.
How do you ensure channel partners flourish in a highly competitive market?
In two ways. Firstly, solution differentiation: our Avaya One Cloud portfolio offers our channels the ability to service customers in any way they wish (public, private or a managed service) and via a standard on-premises or OPEX/subscription commercial model. This is a key differentiator in the market and gives our channels choice. Thanks to an extensive ecosystem of alliance partners, the ability of our technology to deliver speed to value for our customers and the inherent capabilities of our technology to drive innovation at the edge, the Avaya portfolio is second to none in the customer experience and workstream collaboration industries.
Secondly, commercial differentiation: our Edge Partner Programme has always been the most agile, introducing new elements in parallel to shifts in the industry and alongside customer demand. Along with extensive training and knowledge transfer, we have built within our Edge Programme a business model that incentivises and supports our transition. Our model is built on true partnership where the channel is an extension of our team in all aspects of the business, including our joint focus on our customers.
What are the latest trends you see emerging across the channel?
Two major trends: firstly, remote working and collaboration have become critical through COVID-19 – we are helping our channels and their customers operate and collaborate more efficiently at this time. We have seen a x32 increase in our Avaya Spaces collaboration platform and enabled over 2.5 million remote workers in the second half of FY20. Secondly, cloud adoption, SaaS and Digital Transformation, which are key. Our Avaya partner subscription model has been a major driver in enabling organisations facilitate remote working and Business Continuity in our ‘new normal’ and has played a key role in our continued SaaS transformation. Thanks to our own transformation at Avaya, we’re taking our UK channel with us on that journey and helping them grow their relevance to the UK technology industry.
What is your management philosophy?
I set objectives, then act as a coach, a team member and a trusted advisor. I don´t believe in micromanagement; I prefer empowerment. Trust, guidance and support are the key traits of a good manager – one of the key culture fits for me joining Avaya was the ‘family’ feel internationally, despite it being a large global corporate.
When you look back at your career what has been the most memorable achievement?
I have a green Hulk in my office today; I was presented with it at only 26-years-old for being top of sales in a prior job at Cable & Wireless, working with IBM and a large retailer in the UK. That is something that I will always be proud of, despite the many Presidents Club or top achievements I’ve received at both Juniper Networks and TalkTalk Business. Moving to Avaya has been the most rewarding. I was finally given the opportunity to bring my wealth of 20 years channel experience in both telecommunications and IT into a company where I have an ear, where I am respected and where I can drive change as part of the UK management team and the international channel community. In November FY19, I was privileged to host the Avaya International Partner Event in Dubai at the Atlantis. I was the host for two days, presenting to over 1,400 people from all over the world. It was the most challenging experience in my career so far but at the same time the most rewarding.
What made you think of a career in technology?
Technology is always changing – I knew that it would give me a good basis to grow, develop and explore. I actually was in service management before sales. But found that I could sell on the job.
What do you think will be the hot technology talking point of 2021?
Work-from-anywhere will continue to be the driving force in our industry; there is a ‘new normal’ for our customers and partners and it differs from one industry and market to another. For us at Avaya, our focus is on using our Avaya OneCloud portfolio to deliver speed to the value that our customers desire, building on one of the most extensive ecosystems in the industry and our unique ability to innovate where our customers meet their own ecosystem. Communication technology is key for business growth and the new normal – cloud adoption and CX are also key. Therefore, Avaya’s one cloud portfolio including UCaaS, CCaaS and CPaaS will continue to thrive as Digital Transformation and cloud adoption accelerates.
What are your personal interests and where do you like to spend most of your time after work?
I normally love to travel as I love food, wine and exploring different cultures. When I’m not on a video meeting or on the phone, I love spending time with my 10-year-old daughter, Lilly-Grace, my husband, Mark, and my dog, Lucy. We built a house in the woods in Bedfordshire a few years back and are really getting to enjoy it in lockdown! I have also invested in a Peloton spinning bike and regularly use that to de-stress and stay connected with my friends (I love all sorts of music and am normally a social animal). I love enjoying a few glasses of wine of an evening and some good food.Click below to share this article