ScanSource Packages Hosted Solution For Avaya IP Office

ScanSource and Avaya have teamed up on a packaged UC solution hosting Avaya IP Office as well as offering professional services for Avaya's IP Office Contact Center, which executives and partners said will launch a new level of competition in the midmarket for hosted UC and contact center solutions.

At its 1Comm Partner Conference in Savannah, Ga., Tuesday, distributor ScanSource said it will offer the IP Office solution with ViaWest's hosting capabilities. And as an extension of its support of Avaya IP Office, ScanSource will also provide professional services for Avaya IP Office Contact Center, including pre-sales consultation, demo support, installation and configuration, custom integration, testing and more.

"What it's leading to is a more holistic support of IP Office," said Rich Long, president of ScanSource Catalyst and ScanSource Communications, Greenville, S.C. "That's really the innovative, unique thing about ScanSource's support of Avaya and IP Office -- it's a holistic approach, meaning it doesn't matter how it's deployed, it doesn't matter how it's consumed by the user. We'll support it the same way all the way through."

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Long said that the hosted solution demonstrates Avaya and ScanSource’s commitment to targeting the midmarket.

"What you're going to see is more enterprise-grade quality support for the midmarket," Long said. ScanSource will further support the hosted IP Office solution with design services, implementation support, education services and more.

Mike Carney, senior vice president of strategy and development at Avaya partner AGC Networks, Irving, Texas, said Avaya’s IP Office Contact Center is a robust offering. However, he said Avaya now has to move downmarket with Contact Center. The contact center space isn't necessarily growing, but midmarket customers have shown some interest in Avaya’s offering, he said.

However, for Mike Hartke, CEO of Livonia, Mich.-based XFER Communications, which focuses on clients with 25 to 50 employees, Avaya’s midmarket focus is making XFER feel alienated from the company’s portfolio.

"Some of the stuff they were talking about is a little too big," Hartke said. "It's going to come down to price. The feature set is certainly there; they talk about features, they're all adding stuff and getting better and faster and slicker but, honestly, in a moment of total candor, I don't really care that Avaya put this together. ... It doesn't help me a bit."

However, it's just the beginning for cloud-based midmarket solutions, said ScanSource CTO Greg Dixon. The release of the hosted Avaya solution means the floodgates are open for similar cloud solutions from competitors, he added.

"Once you get that open, it’s the old thing about the camel's nose is though the door of the tent," Dixon said. "The camel's nose is through the tent. Avaya will have to be pretty quick on what its next iteration is. Our job as a distributor is to be ready there."