Avaya adds contact center to IPOffice

Miles Davis, Avaya Canada channel chief

Miles Davis, Avaya Canada channel chief

Although it’s just a “point release,” Avaya’s newest version of its IPOffice telephony offering includes a big new feature – the ability to support contact center functionality within IPOffice.

The functionality was originally slated for the introduction of IPOffice 9.0, introduced last October, but wasn’t quite ready at the time. And it was too important a feature to wait until IPOffice 10.0, due out later this year, said Avaya Canada channel chief Miles Davis.

“We see this as part of a larger movement, another piece of the puzzle in the midmarket movement we took late last year,” Davis said. “Avaya has a brand connected with contact centers, and all our products are build with the contact center, and interfacing into the contact center, in mind. This closes a big gap for us.”

While some partners have succeeded with Avaya’s enterprise-focused contact center lineup, introducing SMB-focused contact center functionality for contact centers as small as 10 to 20 people has the potential to bring a lot more of the company’s partner base to the table. To make it easier for partners new to the contact center space, Davis said Avaya has made it “as easy and simple to install as possible,” and is rolling out partner training around the product, and the small business contact center opportunity as a whole. Training materials for salespeople is already in place, with implementation training due to arrive shortly. Training is available free online, and should take about two hours from start to finish with an exam at the end.

“Partners capable of installing IPOffice will find this contact center add-on just as easy as any other application built into IPOffice,” Davis said.

Avaya has significantly built up IPOffice over the last two years, first taking it 1,000 seats and then to 2,000 seats with the 9.0 launch last year. Adding contact center functionality, including recording, to the mix adds more flexibility, and Davis said this release is particularly well-suited to the SMB-heavy Canadian business market.

“We’ve got a huge opportunity. There are hundreds of thousands of companies that fall into that market,” he said.

It’s a market that Nortel used to serve, and even dominate, particularly in Canada. But Davis admitted that Avaya hasn’t “put enough special attention into that midmarket space” since purchasing Nortel. That’s changing with the growing role of IPOffice, he said. “This puts the wood behind the arrow in terms of backing up our commitment to the SMB space,” he said.

However, the company’s DevConnect network of ISVs have done a lot of work to gap that divide, introducing functionality that allowed Avaya-based solutions to prosper in the field. Now, the company finds itself in the position of competing on some fronts with those DevConnect partners. Davis said ultimately, the technology needed to be baked in by Avaya because of the complexity of engineering and support that comes from having critical functionality like contact center added on by a third party.

“Partners and customers alike lose out in that scenario,” he said.

The new version of IPOffice with Contact Center will be available from Avaya’s distribution partners on February 28. The system lists at $2,265, with agent seats at $670 per seat, and supervisors at $1,205 per seat.