Avaya’s IP Office in the Cloud

by Sandra Gustavsen

Avaya is moving quickly in rolling out cloud services for the mid-market based on IP Office, now offering two options for its channel partners – (1) a partner-hosted, partner-branded cloud service available globally (Powered by Avaya IP Office) and (2) an Avaya-hosted, Avaya-branded option available in the U.S. (OnAvaya-Google Cloud) for partners that do not want to host and manage the service or do not have the data center infrastructure to do so.

First, the hosted version of Avaya’s IP Office communications platform has moved from testing and controlled introduction to reality. The integrated Unified Communications and Customer Communications as a service (UCaaS and CCaaS) solution, now known as Powered by Avaya IP Office and available globally, is currently being hosted and branded by 10 partners that were involved in the controlled testing, with another 30 Avaya distribution partners in various stages of on-boarding the new solution. An additional 75+ partners are on an “interest list.”

Avaya has also expanded its OnAvaya – Google Cloud U.S.-based offer (first launched in March 2015) to include the full Avaya IP Office telephony, UC and contact center capabilities. Initially, only the IP Office Contact Center technology was available as-a-service via the Google Cloud platform. Now, partners that are certified to sell IP Office, but do not have the data center infrastructure to host and manage the service can offer the full stack of IP Office as-a-service through Google Cloud. Additionally, Avaya has enhanced the hosted contact center solution to support multi-channel contact center interactions with voice, email and chat services (the initial service was voice-centric). To date, OnAvaya-Google Cloud is available in the U.S. through 20+ partners (and growing).

It is the virtualized version of IP Office (specifically, the IP Office Select software) that is perfectly suited to a hosted/data center environment as it allows a unique VMware instance to be set up and managed for each end customer. Further, full redundancy can easily be made available by deploying a secondary server instance in a geographically separate data center or by storing a copy of the VMware instance in an off-site location for activation in the event of an outage. With the latest feature pack, Avaya IP Office Select software can support up to 3,000 users across as many as 150 sites.

The Avaya IP Office UCaaS deployment options are timely as more and more businesses are evaluating and adopting subscription-based hosted/cloud services for telephony and UC to replace or augment aging telecom equipment or for the ease of utilizing advanced applications as-a-service, without the hassle of installing any hardware or software on-site.

Hybrid Cloud

Avaya is leveraging its expertise in traditional, on-premises telephony solutions to offer hybrid cloud-premises configurations which will likely be the most common type of deployment going forward. Hybrid models protect existing investments by allowing a business to continue using on-site equipment, while taking advantage of a pay-as-you-go hosted service for some applications or to network a mix of premises-based and cloud-based solutions across geographically dispersed business locations. Because Avaya uses the same software code base for premises and cloud IP Office solutions, the company can support the deployment (cloud or on-site) that best meets a particular customer’s requirements.

Recently, Avaya highlighted its progress with respect to the hybrid cloud, announcing a hybrid networking capability that enables the networking of cloud and premises deployments. For example, a multi-site organization with existing investments in telephony equipment can continue to use these premises-based assets at some locations (IP Office 500V2, IP Office Server Edition or IP Office Select), while subscribing to hosted/cloud services at remote sites (Powered by Avaya IP Office or OnAvaya – Google Cloud), creating a unified, multi-site network with extension dialing and feature parity across all locations regardless of the deployment.

With either Avaya hosted deployment (Powered by or OnAvaya), IP Office customers with premises-based installations can take advantage of some over-the-top services such as contact center in the cloud or disaster recovery that provides a temporary backup system hosted in an off-site data center. Additional hybrid capabilities are on the roadmap and will roll out in phases during 2016.

Partner Offers

The Powered by Avaya IP Office subscription bundles sold to end customers are defined and branded by each hosting partner. Below we highlight some of the offers and packages available now in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

  • AGC Networks, a global technology solution integrator and Avaya Connect Platinum Partner in India, is offering the Avaya cloud-based unified communications solutions to businesses across India. This includes services for small and midmarket businesses based on the Avaya IP Office platform and larger businesses based on the Avaya Aura platform.
  • ScanSource Catalyst has introduced Cloud Solutions featuring Avaya IP Office and hosted by ViaWest, a colocation, managed services provider in North America. This pay-per-user-per-month model has two user options: Telephony Plus and Advanced UC.
  • Six Degrees Group (6DG), an Avaya Connect Platinum Partner in the UK, is offering a unified communications service powered by Avaya IP Office to UK-based small and midsize businesses. The service is delivered over 6DG’s high speed, privately owned, managed network and also leverages 6DG’s SIP services and business continuity capabilities.
  • StarHub, a communications provider in the Singapore region, is offering the StarHub SmartUC service based on Avaya IP Office for businesses in Singapore. StarHub has designed two options: SmartUC Standard, a traditional on-premises deployment designed for smaller businesses with more basic communications needs, and SmartUC Premium for mid- and larger-sized businesses with more sophisticated UC requirements (deployed on-premises or as a hosted service).
  • SYNNEX Corporation is offering a hosted solution based on the Avaya IP Office Platform as part of its SYNNEX CLOUDSolv technology portfolio. The SYNNEX Monthly Hosted Cloud Solution for IP Office is available to resellers in the continental U.S. and Canada.
  • TELMEX, a telecommunications services provider in Mexico, is offering the TELMEX Managed Unified Communications service, a hosted UC service based on IP Office. The service is hosted in TELMEX data centers and is available as a monthly fee or as a pay-on-demand subscription to businesses in Mexico City and across the region.
  • Westcon has launched the UCaaS solution Powered by Avaya IP Office for its reseller customers in the United States and Canada. Westcon is partnering with TelAgility for cloud hosting, carrier services, customer billing and tax compliance. Data centers are located in New York, Los Angeles and Montreal.

For the OnAvaya – Google Cloud U.S.-only offer, Avaya tells us that there are no predefined user packages. Each customer will select the number and type of UC and/or contact center users at time of order and can flexibly adjust these quantities as their business grows. Avaya has not disclosed any list pricing for the service, but explains that each partner will determine a “street price” based on their own costs and other value-added services. More to come on this new offer and the partners selling it.