The new cloud offering comes from a Canadian-based datacentre, and is designed to appeal to SMBs as well as midmarket customers considering cloud.
Avaya has begun introducing its new Cloud IP Office offering to Canadian partners through a series of regional roadshows which started in Toronto, moved to Vancouver, was in Calgary today, and will move to Montreal and Quebec City. The new offering, which will sell entirely through channel partners, will allow them to offer midmarket customers more choice, will provide a strong Avaya entrée into the SMB space, and will be attractive to partners with MSP businesses, including new MSP partners.
“So far, the response has been fantastic,” said Miles Davis, Avaya Canada’s channel chief. “Once the road show is done, we’ll set up a webinar for partners who couldn’t make the events through Westcon at a date to be confirmed.”
This cloud solution was first announced for the American market in March, but there are significant differences in how it is being rolled out in Canada. The American rollout is very much focused on the Google Cloud Platform. In Canada, where data sovereignty is always an issue with cloud solutions, Avaya is offering a ‘made in Canada’ solution which involves Telephonetic, a Canadian CLEC with a Canadian data centre, and Westcon Canada.
“Canadian customers can’t rely on California to deliver what we need locally here,” Davis said.
“Telephonetics is one of the early pioneers of cloud-based services, providing retail outlets with overhead music,” Davis indicated. “They have a data centre in Kitchener-Waterloo which they bought from Blackberry. They will consolidate the service and deliver it to partners. Two types of licenses are offered – basic telephony and more enhanced UC licenses.”
Westcon Canada’s role is to provide typical distribution support, including credit, as well as to provide peripherals in case a customer wants things like a hard IP set and switches.
IP Office has become very much a midmarket product with its scalability to larger numbers of seats. Cloud IP Office will give customers in that segment more choice, but will also give Avaya a stronger presence in the SMB space.
“Cloud IP Office lets us be more relevant to the lower end of the market, to customers who liked the features and functionality of Avaya, but for whom the price point may have been too high,” Davis said. “This brings that customer back into play for our partner base.”
Old Nortel partners with customers in this part of the market may be especially attracted to this product.
“Their customers have had a rock solid system for 15 years, and asking them to swap it for IP Office for a few extra features has not been easy,” Davis said. “With the cloud model, these customers can take a closer look at Avaya, and get our technology at a lower price, and without forking out money for features they may not even use.”
Davis also said Cloud IP Office will be valuable for midmarket-focused partners whose customers have been asking about a cloud-based solution.
“Our partners have not had this cloud option before, and it lets them deal with that question, and determine what customers are the right fit for a cloud-based model,” he said.
“This is entirely a channel product, which sells into a part of the market that is 100 per cent channel driven at Avaya,” Davis added. “But it also opens doors for managed service partners, for whom our traditional premise-based solutions haven’t appealed, and who like the fact that this bills on a per user, per month basis.”
As well as existing partners with MSP practices, Cloud IP Office should attract new MSP partners to Avaya.
“I look forward to those conversations,” Davis said. “This is a group of partners who we can be relevant to with this offering.” Telcos have also shown a keen interest, he added.
Because pricing depends on the number of users and the location, Davis is recommending that partners consult the Westcon portal for specific pricing.
“We have priced this as aggressively as we can, at around the 30 dollars per user per month mark, so we feel we won’t lose against another Tier 1 UC provider in the UC market,” he said.
A Phase Two launch of the product is likely around six months down the road, Davis indicated.