Avaya vs. Microsoft: Two Giants in the UC Space
Should you go with Avaya or Microsoft?
If you’re searching for a way to enhance your communication and collaboration strategy, then there are plenty of vendors out there to help you on your journey. As the world of communication continues to evolve, driven by trends like remote working and omnichannel connectivity, companies from all backgrounds are finding their way into the UC market.
Avaya and Microsoft are two leaders in the Unified Communications space. Avaya is a multi-national technology leader, with experience in the realms of contact centre software, unified communications, and collaboration. Alternatively, Microsoft is a huge technology company, with a background in computer software and personal electronics. While Avaya is known for their reliable endpoints and innovative customer contact solutions, Microsoft is currently making ripples with it’s Teams collaboration offering and the Office 365 productivity portfolio.
FY 2017 for Avaya was:
- $3.272 billion revenue
- Non-GAAP revenue of $669 million
- Adjusted EBITDA of $866 million
Microsoft financial results FY 2017 were:
- Revenue of $90 billion
- Operating income of $29.3 billion
Both Microsoft and Avaya made the cut for the “leader” position in this year’s Unified Communications Magic Quadrant. Although Microsoft chose not to participate in the MQ for 2018, Gartner drew information from their peer insights to determine the company’s position. According to the Gartner report, “Microsoft has strengthened its collaboration strategy by merging SfBO with Microsoft Teams.”
Avaya has been in the Magic Quadrant Leader segment for UC for nine years now, despite a rocky 2017 thanks to their Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Gartner drew attention to Avaya’s heritage in the communications industry in this year’s report, citing their “strong brand recognition.” The report also highlighted the fact that Avaya’s “as a service” systems make it easier for customers of all sizes to adopt Avaya UC.
Avaya is a much smaller company than Microsoft, with around 8,700 employees across the globe, compared to 131,300 for the tech giant. In terms of employee satisfaction, Glassdoor rates Microsoft at 4.1 out of 5, and Avaya at 3.2 out of 5.
Avaya’s heritage as a communication company means that it has more to offer than just unified communications. Avaya also has its own range of endpoints, contact centre services, and even an artificial intelligence strategy in the form of Ava. Alternatively, Microsoft comes to the UC space from a computing and technology background, which means that they don’t have the same experience to offer through desk phones or contact centre solutions.
The best way to compare Microsoft and Avaya is on their UC&C solutions. For Avaya, Unified Communications and Collaboration comes down to products like Avaya IP Office, which gives users a seamless platform for end-to-end internal and external communication. Avaya Equinox also helps employees to collaborate over projects, through a system that includes features like video and voice conferencing, instant messaging, and file sharing.
Alternatively, Microsoft provides its UC service as part of the Office 365 portfolio for business productivity and performance. Previously, their internet telephony and collaboration solution was Skype for Business. However, Microsoft recently announced that they will be merging Skype for Business with the new flagship product “Microsoft Teams.”
Microsoft Teams is an immersive communication and collaboration platform, complete with calling options, file sharing services, and real-time messaging.
Target Market and Regional Availability
Microsoft and Avaya are both global companies. However, it could be argued that Microsoft has a much broader reach thanks to their enormous presence around the world. Both Avaya and Microsoft also offer a range of services in the Unified Communications environment, to suit businesses of any size. However, Microsoft recently introduced their “free” version of Microsoft Teams, which could make the vendor even more compelling for particularly small groups and freelance business owners.
Pricing for Avaya products isn’t available publicly. Instead, if you want to set up your own Avaya UC strategy, then you’ll need to speak to a channel partner, or the Avaya customer service team. Of course, you can always look for prices for the Avaya J100 series phones and Vantage endpoints through partners online.
Alternatively, Microsoft offers Teams as part of it’s Office 365 portfolio, which comes in a range of licensing options, including:
- Office 365 Business at £7.90 per user per month
- Office 365 Business Premium at £9.40 per user per month
- Office 365 Business Essentials at £3.80 per user per month
Microsoft Teams is also available on a free tier for companies with fewer than 300 users.
Both Microsoft and Avaya are strong competitors in the Unified Communications market. While Microsoft focuses heavily on communication and collaboration over the cloud, Avaya offers a broader selection of products and solutions to companies who want to look beyond everyday productivity, to solutions like contact centre environments and endpoints.