Page 3 of 3
One thing Avaya observers don't dispute is that Avaya's product portfolio, from a technology perspective, is the strongest it's ever been. From the technologies built on Aura, Avaya's virtualized UC suite, to the newer Flare Experience, Avaya's core-to-desktop-to-mobile collaboration platform, partners are getting good looks and big wins behind the technology.
"We are now an innovator again," Soderlund said. "Fifty new products in the last 18 months."
Avaya has also kept pace with the integration of its Avaya and legacy Nortel customer bases, even with all those product launches. IP Office 7.0, the latest version of Avaya's flagship UC suite for SMBs, was the first to fully integrate Nortel's IP and digital phones fully into the Avaya platform, meaning Avaya VARs could offer IP Office as fully compatible with legacy Nortel SMB systems.
Avaya woke up to the loyalty of the Nortel customer base said Optivor's Chandler, who added that he is strengthening his Avaya line behind unified communications, data networking and video.
SPS' Maynard said his VAR is seeing growth and interest from customers on a number of Avaya fronts, particularly the Avaya Aura Contact Center suite and the Avaya Agile Communication Environment (ACE), a software offering intended to simplify how companies integrate multi-vendor communications systems and add custom applications.
"I came out of the software business doing applications and middleware," Maynard said. "The interest and attention we are driving around ACE is a game-changer. It takes what used to be plumbing and turns it into special-purpose middleware that sits in the broader IT applications stack, which is pretty compelling."
The impact of Flare is still a work in progress, VARs said. For SPS, customers have been sold on Flare as a collaboration platform, though not swayed by the roughly $2,000-a-pop video tablet that Avaya launched as a Flare endpoint.
"We're seeing interest in Flare as a user interface," Maynard said. "The tablet device seemed like a vehicle just to get it into the market, but I think by placing so much emphasis on the device initially, people were de-focused on the real message, which is that it's a pretty neat user experience."
Flare's availability on other mobile platforms, such as Apple devices and other smartphones and tablets, is the hook, he said.