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Avaya-Google integration targets SMBs with cloud UC

Avaya is giving partners the ability to deliver cloud UC through containers running on the Google Cloud, a cheaper and simpler deployment model.

Avaya partners can now deliver unified communications and collaboration services to businesses through the Google Cloud, a setup that should make it easier and more profitable to sell cloud UC to small businesses.

Partners can currently run a virtualized version of Avaya's UC and collaboration apps in their data centers. Moving forward, Avaya is giving partners the ability to deliver the same set of apps from the Google Cloud using containerization and microservices technologies.

"We can't set the price, but we think this is a cost-effective platform that will allow our partners to price very competitively into the small-medium space," said Scott Hanwell, senior manager of UC product marketing at Avaya.

Partners will be able to configure instances for new customers within minutes, rather than within hours -- a time-savings that should make it more cost-effective to sell to businesses with 50 employees or fewer. Partners will also benefit from Avaya's volume-based discount from Google.

The human and computing resources required to deploy virtualized UC apps in their own data centers can mean partners lose money when selling to small businesses, said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, based in Westminster, Mass. Avaya's new deployment model in partnership with Google Cloud changes that.

"Now they have a true offering that can compete with the likes of RingCentral and 8x8 and Vonage," Kerravala said. "Avaya has been arguably behind on cloud, but this helps them catch up pretty fast."

Powered by Avaya IX -- previously branded Powered by Avaya IP Office -- includes cloud-based voice, meetings and collaboration apps. The offering is hosted and delivered by partners, which sometimes market the technology under their brand.

Avaya seeks to boost its partner channel

Avaya, which spent most of 2017 mired in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, has lost partners in recent years.

Although the company recently launched an online store through which businesses can purchase cloud products directly from Avaya, the company relies on partners for nearly three-quarters of product revenue.

The cloud UC delivery model announced this week could help the company retain partners and attract new ones by significantly reducing the costs associated with reselling Avaya's cloud UC.

Avaya had more than 4,700 active channel partners as of September 2018, down from 6,300 channel partners one year earlier and 9,300 channel partners in 2015, according to public financial disclosures. The percentage of total product revenue attributable to partners decreased from 75% annually to 71% annually over that period.

This week's announcement comes as Avaya explores the possibility of selling itself after two straight quarters of generating less revenue than projected.

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