HP, Avaya Announce UC Partnership

HP and Avaya have announced a three-year partnership that will have HP selling and servicing Avaya UC solutions, including Avaya's Aura platform. The move is part of HP's strategy of competing with Cisco through a series of alliances with the likes of Microsoft and Alcatel-Lucent.

Hewlett-Packard is partnering with Avaya to help expand its unified communications offerings in its ongoing competition with Cisco Systems.

HP officials on June 29 announced a three-year alliance that will include HP selling and servicing Avaya UC and Contact Center products as part of HP's UC&C (Unified Communications and Collaboration) enterprise-level services portfolio.

The announcement comes a year after HP rolled out a similar 10-year alliance with Alcatel-Lucent, and underscores HP's strategy of partnering with a wide range of vendors to give customers options as they adopt a UC game plan.

Also last year, HP and Microsoft announced a four-year UC deal.

"Organizations face constant change and the decisions they make must be flexible enough to meet future needs-such as unification of real-time communication with Web 2.0 and social media applications," Gary Budzinski, senior vice president and general manager of technology services with HP, said in a statement. "With HP and Avaya, clients can increase the agility of their existing communication architectures and realize the aspiration of unified communications for multivendor interoperability and ultimately save organizational costs."

HP, Cisco and other vendors see UC as a promising marketplace, as businesses are looking to converge their myriad communications technologies, particularly as their global work force becomes more mobile.

IDC analysts in February predicted that the number of mobile workers worldwide will reach almost 1.2 billion by the end of the year, due in large part by the growing corporate interest in UC.

Cisco officials have projected that the overall collaboration market could reach $34 billion, as businesses look to increase productivity and curb travel expenses by improving their communications capabilities.

As part of the new alliance, HP will offer Avaya's Aura UC platform and applications, Avaya Contact Center software and Avaya's client applications and endpoints as part of HP's UC&C Lifecycle Services.

HP also will offer businesses the ability to outsource Avaya's Aura platform through HP's Managed Services business.

HP and Avaya also will go forward with a consistent UC and VOIP (voice over IP) message.

The alliance's offerings will address both enterprise and SMB (small and midsize business) needs, the two companies said.

"The HP and Avaya relationship enables customers to take out costs and transform their business via the strategic application of communications tools and services in the procurement and management model that best suits a company's objectives," Joel Hackney, Avaya's senior vice president of global sales and marketing, and president of field operations and government solutions, said in a statement.