Avaya is rolling out new offerings aimed at making it easier for midmarket companies to transition their communications and contact center operations to the cloud.
The company on Feb. 8 unveiled two solutions that Avaya is making available through channel partners and that are designed to enable end users to make the move to the cloud in ways that best fit their businesses. The two options—Powered by Avaya IP Office and OnAvaya – Google Cloud Platform—will help businesses embrace the hybrid cloud, enabling them to begin seeing the benefits while protecting the investments they've already made.
They make up the Avaya Midmarket Cloud portfolio.
"The market is changing and customers are beginning to move to the cloud," Mike Kuch, senior director of Avaya's segment leadership group for cloud, told eWEEK, adding that the new solutions give customers options. "We are able to go pure cloud, but the hybrid cloud lets them go at their own pace."
Avaya is among a broad array of unified communications (UC) technology vendors that are broadening the cloud capabilities in their portfolios. End users are looking to UC-as-a-service (UCaaS) as a way of making their communications environments easier to manage, more flexible and less costly, key considerations as they deal with such trends as a more mobile workforce, bring-your-own-device (BYOD), the rapid growth in the number of mobile devices and the cloud.
Analysts with IDC expect the cloud communications market to grow from $123 million in 2013 to $7.5 billion in 2018, while IHS Infonetics in March 2015 said that in its survey, more than half the respondents said they will be running at least some of their UC services over private or public clouds by 2016. Synergy Research Group analysts said the UCaaS market is growing by about 16 percent a year.
Most players in the UC space—including Cisco Systems, Microsoft, ShoreTel, Mitel and Unify—are offering products that enable customers to migrate from on-premises products to cloud-based solutions.
Kuch said a key for Avaya is that the new midmarket offers—both of which are based on the Avaya IP Office Platform—utilize the same code base as the Avaya systems that are running on most customers' premises.
"What we allow is for both [solutions] on a single system," he said. "We use the same code. It's identical."
This is a big win for both customers and channel partners, Kuch said. For end users, they can continue using the Avaya products—such as phones and call-control systems—that they've already invested in, while at the same time begin their move into the cloud. They can control their costs and the pace of cloud adoption, and more quickly bring new locations into the cloud fold.
For partners, it gives the new full-stack solutions they can offer to their customers to help them into the cloud and give the end users options when deciding on a path forward. At the same time, the single code means that channel partners don't have to retrain their own people on new technologies or invest in new skill sets.
The new midmarket offerings build off what Avaya already was offering, including having full, multichannel UC and contact center capabilities and a greater range of operating systems and devices, including PCs, Apple Mac Web clients and Google's Chrome OS. Both are available through the channel.
Powered by Avaya IP Office is aimed at partners that want to install the cloud-based option in their own data centers. According to Kuch, the vendor already has tested the option with 10 channel partners, and it was being used to serve several thousand end users in North America and Europe. OnAvaya – Google Cloud Platform will be available initially only in the United States.