Avaya Continues Midmarket Push With New Contact Center Offering

Avaya this week launched a new contact center solution that partners say fills a gap in the UC vendor's steadily growing midmarket portfolio.

The new Avaya IP Office Contact Center solution, according to Avaya, is purpose-built for contact centers with fewer than 100 agents, offering the same robust functionality of its traditional contact center offerings but at a more affordable price point and with faster deployment times.

Avaya said IP Office Contact Center base software starts at $2,225.

[Related: Avaya Revamps Growth Incentives, Intros New Partner Specializations For 2014 ]

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Avaya IP Office Contact Center represents the latest in a series of moves made by Avaya aimed at broadening its footprint within the SMB and midmarket segments. In October, Avaya announced a scaled-out version of IP Office, its flagship collaboration suite for the midmarket. The new version, IP Office 9.0, can scale to support up to 2,000 users, or double that of the prior-generation IP Office 8.1, which Avaya said will help both itself and its partners cast a much wider net when selling into the midmarket.

Nick Kolintzas, vice president of Engineering Operations at Carousel Industries, an Exeter, R.I.-based solution provider and Avaya partner, said Avaya IP Office Contact Center definitely fills a gap in Avaya's broader midmarket portfolio, which, until now, didn't include a contact center solution.

"There definitely has been a hole," Kolintzas said, noting that he has seen a big uptick in his Avaya midmarket business. "We would look outside Avaya to build third-party solutions to meet that need for contact centers with 100 agents and under, so we are ecstatic about this launch."

Bill Xydias, director of marketing at Integration Partners, a Lexington, Mass.-based solution provider and Avaya partner, agreed that there was definitely a need for Avaya to roll out a midmarket-focused contact center offering.

"From an Avaya partner perspective, you are getting the benefits of offering what a big company would use in a smaller package," Xydias said. "There's no magic behind it in terms of a secret sauce, but [Avaya] is smart to offer the same business functionality that a growing small- to medium-sized business needs."

The new Avaya IP Office Contact Center is included within the IP Office 9.0 platform, which is available as either a hardware appliance or as a pure software offering that can run on users' own dedicated servers. It also can be deployed in VMware vSphere 4.x or 5.x environments.

Mark Monday, vice president and general manager, Collaboration Platforms, at Avaya, said that because Avaya IP Office Contact Center requires customers to be running IP Office 9.0, it represents an opportunity for partners to go back to their existing install base and offer upgrade services to 9.0, in addition to the deployment services around Avaya IP Office Contact Center.

"An opportunity exists right away for [partners] to go back to their IP Office install base and, even if they are not on the latest [9.0] release, upgrade them and then bring them these new capabilities," Monday said.

Avaya IP Office Contact Center offers the same functionality as Avaya's enterprise-focused contact center solutions, including call recording, analytics and multichannel support, which allows agents to interact with customers using either voice, email or chat functionalities.

Avaya IP Office Contact Center will be available starting Feb. 28.