Avaya buys Richmond Hill’s Esna to easily integrate multi-vendor communications into cloud apps

Esna will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Avaya, with Avaya ‘planning to adopt’ Esna’s over 200 active channel partners. Avaya also said the deal will provide existing Avaya partners with significant new opportunities.

Craig Iwata Avaya 300

Craig Iwata, Senior Director, Product Management, MidMarket Collaboration Platforms, Avaya

Avaya has announced it has acquired Richmond Hill, Ontario-based Esna Technologies, which makes real-time collaboration and communications software that accelerates the adoption of communications-enabled applications. Esna’s technology permits easy access to multi-vendor communications capabilities like voice, video, IM/presence, conferencing and messaging from within cloud-based business apps. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The increased use in web applications offers a growing market ripe for an integrated, multi-vendor solution that increases flexibility and productivity, while easing IT requirements and budgets,” said Craig Iwata, Senior Director, Product Management, MidMarket Collaboration Platforms, Avaya.

Iwata said that other UC vendors typically require the customer to exit whatever application they may be working in and open another application to communicate, and that this may also result in loss of a mode, and reduced quality or functionality. An Esna-enabled Avaya Communicator web client reduces this disruption caused by shifting in and out of applications or changing devices. It means that a client’s customers communicating with the company will have a better quality of service.

“We will develop tighter integrations with Avaya IP Office, Avaya Aura and Avaya Scopia platforms,” Iwata said. “We also plan to move some of the functionality into our Engagement Development Platform, enabling other developers, customers, and business analysts to build on top of that.”

Esna worked with Avaya before the acquisition, but Avaya was not OEMing this product. Esna was a member of the Avaya DevConnect program’s Select Product Portfolio, which gave them access to Avaya APIs on which to build added value and integrations with Avaya platforms for Avaya customers.

“We did not have a browser-based multi-vendor communications application previous to this,” Iwata said. “We had Avaya Communicator as a thick client, which is our going-forward unified communications client. The Esna functionality will become Avaya Communicator for Web Applications – a thin client for cloud-based applications.”

Avaya will keep Esna as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Avaya rather than simply integrating it into the company. Esna CEO and co-founder Mahmoud Nezarati will continue to lead Esna. Iwata indicated that the subsidiary status was done to preserve Esna’s relationships with an impressive roster of both enterprise and midmarket companies, and also noted there were other legal reasons behind this decision.

Esna has a substantial channel of their own, and a channel program.

“They have over 200 active channel partners, 36 of which are also Avaya partners,” Iwata said. “We plan to adopt all of them, although if those partners who are supporting customers with non-Avaya environments wish to also add Avaya solutions to their offers, they will have to become Avaya-certified.”

For Avaya’s existing partner base, as well as Esna partners who are or who become certified on Avaya solutions, the acquisition will improve their competitive position, Iwata said.

“The acquisition of Esna will provide Avaya Channel Partners with a value-added solution to sell that has a differentiated approach from what’s available from most other vendors today,” he said. “Esna technology increases the competitive strength of Avaya Communicator against Microsoft and Cisco and others which increases the opportunity for more wins and larger deal sizes.”

The deal also strengthens Avaya’s position with Google for Work customers, and the solution providers who serve that market.

“Esna technology positions Avaya to be the best choice for UC for cloud-based business applications, particularly, for Google for Work customers,” Iwata said. “This creates the opportunity for partners to win more business with Google customers and further extends Avaya’s story with Google.”

Finally, Iwata stated that Esna technology will let partners create all new web application experiences, which provide an opportunity to drive revenue from custom application development and communications-enabled business processes transformation services.