Marketing pact aims product bundles at SMBs
Targeting small and midsize customers, Avaya and Hewlett-Packard last week unveiled a joint marketing agreement that bundles Avaya's IP telephony software with HP hardware.
The bundles, aimed at businesses with two to 256 users, will combine Avaya's IP Office with HP's ProLiant ML310, ML330 and DL320 servers.
"For the channel, this is a proven package that will be easy to sell and available through distribution," said Dave Johnson, group vice president for small and midsize business solutions at Avaya, Basking Ridge, N.J.
The solutions also will include installation and maintenance services from solution providers or Avaya Global Services, the vendor's professional services arm, Johnson said.
The bundles, available now, start at $14,000 for a basic configuration.
To sell the bundles, solution providers must be trained and certified by both vendors, Johnson said. Avaya has certified ProLiant and now recommends the servers as the preferred platform for running IP Office applications. HP partners that want to be certified by Avaya can participate in the Avaya Accelerated Sales Authorized Program, which speeds the time it takes solution providers to achieve authorization by eliminating the requirement that partners also become certified services partners.
"Now we're saying that you can have Avaya [Global Services] do that on your behalf," Johnson said.
Though it's too early to tell if the bundles will make the technology easier to sell, the idea makes sense, said Richard Roux, executive vice president at Info Systems, a solution provider in Wilmington, Del. "We certainly need ways to make IP telephony easier for people to integrate into the network."
Info Systems has had success selling IP Office to small-business and education customers, which like the product's ability to function as an IP or a circuit-switched PBX, Roux said.
"Future proofing is probably the biggest thing right now. They don't want to feel like they've made an investment that will soon be obsolete," he said.
Initially, the bundles will be available via U.S. distributors Catalyst Telecom, Tech Data and Westcon, with plans for global distribution by year's end, Johnson said.