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

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Avaya on Tuesday launched version 7.0 of Avaya IP Office, its flagship unified communications offering for SMBs.

It's a milestone release for Avaya, because it completes the integration of Nortel Enterprise Solutions' IP and digital phones fully into Avaya's IP Office platform. Nearly 18 months after Avaya completed its $915 million acquisition of Nortel NES, Avaya solution providers can now offer IP Office as fully compatible with legacy Nortel SMB systems -- ensuring smooth migration to the Avaya platform for their customers.

"We believe we've been very fast to offer the convergence of an acquisition and support the phones," said Isabelle Guis, Avaya's senior director of marketing for SME. "We've also made it a lot simpler for customers to migrate."

The small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) segment, which is how Avaya refers to the SMB space, is a 100-percent channel business for the vendor. According to Avaya, it now has a customer base of 30 million SME users worldwide: about 14 million of which were former Nortel customers, and 16 million of which came from the "classic Avaya portfolio," Guis said.

Version 7.0 of IP Office was actually made available to partners in late March, and Avaya is already celebrating customer wins. The vendor is scheduled to be joined by two IP Office 7.0 customers, music booking firm The Agency Group, and Carlo's Bakery of TV's "Cake Boss" fame, at an event in New York Tuesday to announce the release.

Part of the 7.0 release is Avaya's Data Migration Tool, which lets Avaya partners transfer their clients' existing business data, such as phone extensions and voicemails, to their new systems without interruption. Avaya is further launching a number of new desktop phones, including color touchscreen models, using technology it bought through its acquisition of Swedish audioconferencing vendor Konftel in January. Those range in price from MSRP $265 to $590 per phone.

Pricing for the IP Office systems hasn't changed, and deployments usually run between $2,500 and $7,100, depending on users and system requirements. Avaya user packages, which are categorized as mobile worker, teleworker, power user, office worker, customer service agent, customer services supervisor and receptionist, have one-time charges between $89 and $599 each.

According to Guis, Avaya has retained all of the former Nortel service provider partners selling into the SMB segment. From a VAR perspective, more than three-quarters of top former Nortel partners have adopted IP Office in North America, she said.

What'll come next, Guis said -- and which Avaya plans to mention during Tuesday's media event -- is making Avaya's Flare Experience collaboration platform available for SME customers in a way that suits them, as well as a hybrid cloud version of IP Office that moves some of IP Office's applications to a hosted format. Firm details on both of those plans will come later this year, Guis said.

In the meantime, expect continued updates to IP Office every six to nine months.

"Our channel partners want to see more innovation and that's the reason why we've been doing this conversion so fast," Guis said. "We wanted to have this done so we could focus the entire innovation and the entire R&D on one platform."

Next: Avaya Partners See Easy Migration With IP Office 7.0

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