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Avaya told partners at its 2011 partner conference in Las Vegas, roughly a year ago, that it had the strongest technology portfolio in the company's history, following more than 60 new products released in an 18-month stretch.
There's little argument about that from Avaya observers, especially with major Avaya initiatives such as Aura -- the virtualized platform that powers its enterprise-grade UC and contact center products -- nestling comfortably within overall industry trends toward software-defined networking and virtualized infrastructure.
"We are also really seeing momentum and market demand for the longtime strategy of keeping their solutions SIP-compliant and open to integrate into other best-in-class SIP solutions," Converged's Melchiorre said. "Avaya was passionate about this many years ago, while competitors were not, and now we're seeing clients demand broad integrations like UC via Microsoft Lync, BYOD integration via Avaya Flare, and more."
Avaya's hit some definite home runs as of late, too. IP Office, which is Avaya's flagship UC system for SMB customers, is sold 100 percent through partners, and earlier this year, Avaya launched version 8.1 of the platform -- a seminal release, because it added a number of key features as well as increased IP Office's single-site user capacity from 384 users to 1,000 users.
In Avaya's view, IP Office can now be a better fit for midmarket customers not yet in need of higher-end platforms like Avaya's Aura Communication Manager but with more sophisticated requirements than traditional small businesses.
"It's going even better than we had hoped," said Avaya's Mitchell, who said that within four weeks of IP Office 8.1's launch, Avaya quote volumes on the product multiplied by a factor of 10. "The size of the deals is also three and four times higher than usual. So that's coming together well. And we're not talking about four or five deals; we're talking hundreds that have gone this way."
Avaya said in news released Wednesday that as of this month it had surpassed 300,000 shipments of IP office, and that sales of the system have grown 50 percent in the past two years. Over the product's 10-year history, Avaya has sold more the 10 million IP Office lines.
"We do very well with IP Office, and that includes selling it with digital endpoints because we have smaller clients who like that and ask for it, but still have options and flexibility to deploy full IP solutions to other clients," said Converged's Melchiorre. "We're thrilled that it can now scale up to 1,000 [users] so you have a lot of options for a wider range of customers."
The hard part now, Avaya partners and analysts agree, is getting more partners selling across the portfolio, and tying Avaya's other key product lines -- including its Virtual Enterprise Network Architecture (VENA) and the rest of its data networking portfolio, and the videoconferencing wares it acquired through Radvision this past spring -- to the bigger networked communications story.
"Product-wise, they are fine," ZK Research's Kerravala said. "Some of the struggles are in the channel. Do they have the right resellers in place? With the voice and data pieces coming together you need to have more IT-type skills than you do telecom skills, and you can argue Avaya's channel doesn't have that. When you look at VENA and Aura, both have much more of an IT bent to them and are presumed to be next-gen platforms. Are partners doing things like network design around that?"