Avaya's Latest IP Office Update Is Also Nortel SMB Milestone

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Avaya partners told CRN that IP Office's 7.0 release is an important step in the Avaya-Nortel migration, because it means they can reassure customers concerned about having to rip out or overhaul their Nortel products to migrate to Avaya.

Avaya hasn't announced an end-of-sale for Nortel's Business Communication Manager (BCM) -- the SMB-focused Nortel solution -- but that writing's been on the wall for some time, said Dan Silverman, owner and president at Telanet, a Toronto-based solution provider.

"We can now take the legacy Nortel or BCM product and link it to IP Office. There's a clear-cut migration path going forward, and it's proven that it works, so we can take this to the market with the rest of our client base," he said. "We can say 'OK, you've got a BCM, we can make IP Office talk to it.' This lets Avaya continue to move the ball forward but lets customers do it at their own pace."

The Agency Group, a music booking agency headquartered in the U.K., is an IP Office 7.0 customer. With six offices worldwide, including three in the U.S., two in Europe and one in Canada, it has about 160 employees. It had been using a BCM 50 VoIP phone system from Nortel in its Toronto office, but the BCM 50's limited capacity -- only 12 SIP trunks -- was no longer sufficient, said Howie Gold, The Agency Group's IT Director.

"We needed at least 30 to 35 SIP trunks, and were maxed out on the BCM 50," Gold said. "With the IP Office, there's really no limit, we could get up to a couple of hundred if we need to. The best part was that Avaya did a really good job of transferring all the feature codes that people on a Nortel set are accustomed to using, so they're able to just pick up with it and it works."

Telanet's Silveman said he's seen a big change, especially among longtime Nortel customers, in how they embrace Avaya solutions. With IP Office, they can see an easy migration path from Nortel to Avaya that won't require massive changes to their infrastructure.

"People are much more receptive to talking about it now," Silveman said. "People had been saying, 'Well, it's not Nortel I'm not sure about that.' But a lot of that perception is disappearing very rapidly. It's not massive buzz, but there is buzz. Customers are asking us about it now."


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