Avaya Aims IP Office 9.0 Squarely at Mid-Sized Users

Avaya last week released a slew of new applications onto the market, including a robust collaboration platform that targets mid-sized companies.

Avaya IP Office 9.0 includes a number of features and deployment options geared specifically for companies that aren’t ready to invest in enterprise offerings.

With new VMware support and the ability to scale up to 2,000 users, the new software addresses what’s often a sticking point for companies in this space, Mark Monday, Avaya’s vice president and general manager of Collaboration Solutions, told CRM Buyer.

“We have solutions like Avaya Aura that can easily be deployed by a customer that only has, say, 500 users, but the price point is too much,” he said.

At the same time, simplicity and ease of use are also very important to this group, Monday added.

Scaling Up

One of the most notable changes in Office 9.0 is that it scales to 2,000 users; the previous version capped at 1,000 users.

“By doubling the capacity of the product, we have accomplished a couple of goals,” Monday said. “Customers that have already deployed the product can now expand without having to shift entirely to a new platform. Also, our partners that have been selling the product now have the ability to go after customers that are twice as large.”

In general, the new product offers another option for middle-market customers that might find their growth trajectory moving into enterprise territory.

The Virtualization Option

Office 9.0 also comes in a virtualized format for companies that are moving their computing operations in this direction. Prior to this,Avaya made Office available as a dedicated appliance and server-based.

“We have been hearing a lot of interest from customers about their need to support virtualized data centers,” Monday said.

Such companies tend to be running VMware, so Office 9.0 added virtualized software running VMware vSphere 4.x or 5.x software, he noted.

“That way, our customers don’t have to change out their equipment and they can get the full advantage of their virtualized data centers,” Monday explained. Avaya’s partners like this piece too, he added, ‘because it allows them to host Office 9.0 for customers.”

Branch Solution

The third major change to Office 9.0 is a feature that will likely hold particular appeal for retail companies. Specifically, it has been fully enabled as a branch office solution.

“It is an economical solution for the mass branch office deployment model,” Monday explained. A mid-sized retailer could have hundreds or even thousands of stores as well as the corporate headquarters.”

There are robust redundant gateways for branch office — including from Avaya — but Office 9.0 is the cheaper option, Monday said.

New Features

More than 100 new features are included in Office 9.0, many of them at the behest of customers, Monday said.

One example is the integrated Web manager, a Web-based tool that allows the customer or partner to manage multiple sites.

New voicemail licensing enhancements, meanwhile, provide support for voicemail across both primary and secondary sites.

There is also mobile and remote twinning, a feature added by demand that enables twinning to be used in a multisite deployment, Monday noted.

VoIP support for One-X Mobile Preferred provides VoIP-based communication from Avaya’s mobile applications across WiFi and 3G/4G.

Last but not least, Remote Call Admission Control is a new feature that “allows support for call admission to a remote site that does not have an IP Office system to manage bandwidth into remote sites,” Monday said.

Erika Morphy has been writing about technology, finance and business issues for more than 20 years. She lives in Silver Spring, Md.

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