Avaya vs. Cisco: Creating Your UC Roadmap

Comparing portfolios from two top contenders

Avaya vs. Cisco: Creating Your UC Roadmap

Looking for a way to fuel your digital transformation (DX) journey?

It all starts with the support of the right vendor.

Avaya and Cisco are two competing pioneers in the UC industry, and both have seen significant recognition for their innovation and accomplishments in the space. While Avaya and Cisco both offer similar solutions for things like Unified Communication Collaboration, and Contact Centre services, each vendor comes with its own distinct strengths and weaknesses.

Introducing Avaya and Cisco

Both Cisco and Avaya are widely recognised as industry leaders in the networking and unified communications environment. Cisco, for instance, has earned a name for itself as one of the most technologically advanced and reliable providers of business solutions for large enterprise. By investing in ongoing research and development and taking part in strategic acquisitions with other leading companies, Cisco has earned its place as a marketplace leader in UC.

Avaya is another name that frequently comes in up in a discussion regarding Unified Communication services. As one of the best-known VoIP services on the market, Avaya has expertise both in the UC and Contact Centre space. Recently, they’ve upgraded their focus in the software and cloud industry, to ensure that they have the potential to provide digitally-transforming companies with future-proof solutions for communications.

Both Cisco and Avaya are known for their comprehensive UC solutions including data, voice, video, and team collaboration solutions. So, how do you choose the right vendor for your business needs?


As of Q2 Financial Year 2018, Avaya has:

  • A total revenue of $672 million
  • An adjusted EBITDA of $187 million
  • Non-GAAP revenue of $757 million

For Q2 of Financial Year 2018, Cisco has

  • Revenue of $11.9 billion
  • Non-GAAP net income of $3.1 billion

Both companies are publicly traded.

Gartner Says:

Avaya has been a “leader” in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications for nine years now. Despite the company’s issues with Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2017, Avaya managed to hold onto their top spot, thanks to their diverse and highly versatile selection of UC products. In the Gartner Magic Quadrant report, the analytics company commends Avaya for their consumption-based licensing models and managed service offerings for UCaaS and CCaaS. Gartner says that these solutions makes it “easier for customers to outsource their infrastructure and application services to Avaya and its partners.”

Cisco is also a leader in the Magic Quadrant. Gartner commends the company for its innovative portfolio, including premise-based endpoints, flexible hybrid solutions, and cloud services. According to Gartner “Cisco’s flexible hybrid solutions enable customers with premises-based solutions to integrate with Cisco Webex cloud for calling, meeting and team collaboration.”

Glassdoor Says:

The latest employee numbers for Avaya rank at around 8,700 staff members around the world. On the other hand, Cisco has an astronomically large company in comparison, with over 72,790 employees across the globe. Independent employment platform Glassdoor rates each company the following out of 5 for employee satisfaction:

  • Avaya: 3.2
  • Cisco 4.2

Avaya vs Cisco: Unified Communications

It’s hard to overlook the importance of unified communications as companies consistently search for more efficient and cost-effect solutions for diverse connectivity. Organisations are searching for a way to bring the strands of their communication strategy together on a single, easy-to-use platform, and both Avaya and Cisco can help with this:

Cisco Unified Communications Manager

For enterprise-level communication and collaboration services, Cisco offers the Cisco Unified Communications Manager. Intended to bring people together in the business space at any time, regardless of device, this service offers simple, scalable, and secure call control and session management. With Cisco Communications Manager, you can consolidate your communications network, and simplify calls with IP telephony, high-definition video, instant messaging, unified messaging, and presence features.

Avaya IP Office & Aura

Avaya IP Office (for small to mid-sized business) and Avaya Aura (for large enterprise) both offer solutions designed to transform the average business environment into a more productive and streamlined location. With IP Office and Aura, companies can transform their interactions with customers and co-workers through a seamless platform for management and engagement. The IP Office system scales for up to 3,000 users and offers WebRTC applications for click-to-call connectivity from Microsoft Office, Salesforce, and more. Avaya Aura scales to hundreds of thousands of users.

Avaya vs Cisco: Collaboration

Collaboration is another area seeing increased focus in the modern business environment. Companies know that if they want their dispersed professional communities to work seamlessly together, they need a platform for sharing information, and projects securely and effectively. Cisco and Avaya offer their own alternatives to the complexity of the email and phone call collaboration strategies of the past:

Cisco Spark:

A cloud-based, app-centric solution providing complete collaboration services for teams who want to message, create, call, or connect with their co-workers, Cisco Spark has it all. Whether you want to engage on a whiteboard, work together on projects, or just catch up, Cisco Spark delivers a simple and effective workstream solution during, before, and after meetings. It’s designed to help professional teams work seamlessly together, with Meetings, Messaging, and Calling features.

Avaya Equinox:

On the other side of the coin, we have Avaya Equinox – the system that helps companies to empower their workers by reducing the restrictions of the natural collaborative environment. With Equinox, employees both in the office and on the move can connect with each other through their own distinct team rooms. There’s the option for audio conferencing, video conferencing, instant messaging, and file sharing so that workers can address a project together at the same time.

Avaya vs Cisco: Contact Centre

Finally, many UC companies are beginning to explore the benefits of adding contact centre features to the mix in the current marketplace. Today’s brands are beginning to realise that they need an effective strategy for customer satisfaction in place if they want to differentiate themselves from other firms. With that in mind, Cisco and Avaya both deliver contact centre solutions designed to provide exceptional user experience and customer experience (CX) too.

Cisco Contact Centre Options

For agile contact centres who want to be able to scale up and down rapidly according to call demand and customer need, Cisco offers a range of software platforms for the contact centre environment. These solutions come with flexible scalability, fast provisioning, and minimal support costs so that organisations have everything they need to keep their customers happy. There’s support for thousands of agents per platform instance, as well as intelligent contact routing, support for multi-channel campaigns, and more. Users can also access next-gen supervisor and agent desktops with the Cisco Finesse feature.

Avaya Aura Contact Centre

Alternatively, the Avaya Aura Contact Centre is designed to make managing the customer experience easier than ever with a simple user interface. Sales representatives can use Aura to manage a huge range of customer interactions on various channels, including instant messaging platforms, email, chat, SMS, and more. The full omnichannel experience offered by Aura gives brands a new way to differentiate themselves in the contact centre space. There’s also performance management available and a reporting module with up to 120 real-time or historical reports to choose from. Avaya more recently have demonstrated market leadership by acquiring a new cloud contact centre company called Spoken Communications and have also demonstrated how blockchain technology can integrate with their platform.

Choosing the Right Unified Comms Solution

While there are many areas where the Avaya and Cisco UC services can overlap, it’s safe to say that they both have their own unique services and benefits to offer. For most companies in the enterprise world today, it’s important to consider your options carefully before you tap into the perfect UC solution for your brand. Ultimately, your decision between Avaya and Cisco will depend on your personal preferences, and what you’re looking for in a communication infrastructure.

If you’ve experience of one or both of the above platforms, drop us a comment below.

Got a comment?

1 Comment
AvatarTravis 12:10, 03 Oct 2018

Avaya IP Office has more to offer with less complexity and far less cost. Avaya IP Office has built in free collaboration, with document and task management for the office. Avaya IP Office also has built in live call recording, web based search and playback, scales to 3000 users supports 250 sites.
To get similar features from Cisco, you need to take out a mortgage on your home to spring one other large enterprise solutions.
Bang for buck… Avaya all the way.

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