Avaya, HP Form IP Joint Venture

Friday Jul 25th 2003 by SmallBusinessComputing.com Staff
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Two major voice and data solutions manufacturers team up to deliver cost-conscious IP telephony solutions to small- and medium-sized businesses. Analysts believe the union will get smaller businesses seeking cost-effective communications solutions to consider IP telephony.

Avaya and HP joined forces this week in a marketing pact designed to draw together their voice and data communications products for small- and medium-sized businesses. Avaya and HP are building a shared channel to distribute their bundled communications solutions. Additionally, Avaya has certified and recommends the HP ProLiant ML310, ML330 and DL320 servers as preferred platforms to run Avaya IP Office software.

"Avaya and HP plan to simplify the process of moving to IP telephony for smaller firms by helping them minimize risks and control costs," said Dave Johnson, group vice president of Avaya's Small and Medium Business Solutions Group.

"By selecting a fully integrated solution, businesses can make the move to IP telephony with the confidence that they are buying a highly reliable system that is ready to go, complete with the hardware and applications they need," Johnson added.

According to Helen Chan, Yankee Group SMB analyst, reliability is one of the misguided reasons why small businesses are hesitant to adopt IP telephony systems.

"Many small businesses simply aren't aware of the benefits of IP telephony," Chan said. "They fear IP telephony as a new technology that requires some sort of special knowledge to make it work. Actually, the opposite is true — IP telephony ends up costing less because small businesses can administer minor moves and changes to their systems by themselves. This is something that used to require a request for service from a TDM reseller."

Avaya's business partners and authorized value-added resellers will be able to bundle the IP Office solution and communication applications with HP ProLiant servers, resulting in an all-in-one communications solution designed specifically for smaller businesses.

Chan said there are four events than can trigger a small business's decision to adopt an IP telephony system.

"Usually it's a change in the organization of the company, the need to improve customer service, the need to improve internal communications, or the savings involved in moving to maintaining a single voice and data system that get small businesses interested in IP telephony," Chan said.

Avaya IP Office supports anywhere from two to 256 users and provides small businesses with the same secure IP networking capabilities and management tools typically found in much larger enterprises. HP ProLiant servers will be bundled with IP Office to host the range of applications available for the Avaya system — from voice mail to contact center software.

Robyn West, HP America's vice president of small and medium business, said the Avaya solution leverages the strengths of HP's ProLiant servers with cutting edge telephony software, enabling SMBs to get more from their technology investments.

Avaya IP Office is a high performance telephony and data server, designed and built specifically for SMBs. It includes Avaya's latest advancements in converged voice and data technology. Avaya IP Office can function as an IP or circuit-switched PBX and can support integrated contact centers and a host of other communication applications. HP ProLiant servers are a recommended platform for IP Office due to their high reliability and performance, making them one of the most cost-effective servers for the SMB market.

"This integrated IP telephony solution gives SMB customers a value-priced way to adopt IP and gain the bottom-line benefits that it offers," said Laurie McCabe, vice president, Summit Strategies. "It also provides value-added resellers an excellent opportunity to enter and drive growth in the SMB market."

The IP Office is packaged with customized installation and maintenance services targeted to IP solutions provided by Avaya Global Services and Avaya's business partners. These resellers will ensure customer networks are ready for IP functionality by offering comprehensive professional services using tools designed for IP telephony. Pricing for the system varies — a small office with a 10-extension setup could run between $14,000 and $15,000 depending on the additional services provided.

Cost savings from conventional TDM systems also vary. For example, a small company with 150 employees working in three or four different locations could centralize their WAN with an IP telephony system that is capable of least-cost routing. This means that interoffice calls between different locations would essentially be free of charge, mitigating some long-distance charges. Companies that do a lot of conference calling or operate a high-traffic 1-800 numbers could also realize additional savings.

The Avaya, HP bundled communications solution will be made available through distributors and VARs to enable SMBs to experience the benefits of IP telephony-from simplified network management and increased productivity to reducing overall telephony costs. Later this year, Avaya and HP intend to expand the common channel to make this solution available worldwide.

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