Formation Tech Discusses Avaya’s Route to Cloud
Moving to the cloud with the right partners
As the communication and collaboration landscape continues to evolve, companies are increasingly looking towards the cloud as an agile opportunity for growth. The cloud provides the simplicity and flexibility of being able to adjust and transform your technology stack whenever it suits you. However, moving from a legacy communication environment into the new era of software isn’t easy.
Avaya, one of leading companies in unified communication and contact centre technologies, is one of the most recent brands to embrace the move to the cloud. The business is now offering a range of cloud-based solutions alongside its legacy strategies, to provide organisations of all sizes with the right route into the cloud.
Formation Tech, a leading Avaya Cloud partner, is on hand to help Avaya customers make the transition into the cloud. I spoke to Dan Cholerton and Carl Hardie, directors of Formation Tech, to learn more.
Tell Us About Avaya’s Proposition, Historically
For years, Avaya has been best-known as the go-to solution for high-quality communication technology. However, their solutions have largely been on-premise, offering best-of-breed applications and solutions to the contact centre and unified communication environment through a legacy format.
Avaya’s core UC offering is the IP Office platform for small and mid-sized businesses, which provides a full suite of calling and collaboration capabilities. On top of that, Avaya has Aura for the enterprise and range of advanced contact centre software applications, namely Oceana, Breeze and more.
According to Dan and Carl, “All of these tools have been extremely successful in their own right.”. However, Avaya is now looking for ways to offer more flexibility to customers in the form of as-a-service offerings and APIs for developers. The Avaya offering is evolving to suit a wider range of customers, regardless of their size, or their strategy for embracing the cloud.
What are the Biggest Challenges that Customers are Facing Today?
Avaya’s decision to upgrade and transform its product portfolio comes as a response to the changing needs of their target market. Dan and Carl told me that there’s a lot of noise out there, and Avaya’s customers are trying to figure out where they want to go with their communication strategy. They’ve got the worries of switching from a CapEX to an OpEX environment to think about, but they also want to make sure that they have flexibility with their new investments.
“With so many opportunities out there, people might not want to stick with a single vendor. They might want to go to Microsoft for collaboration and productivity with things like Teams but stick with Avaya for their PBX and contact centre solutions. People are starting to see the benefits of the best-of-breed approach, and they want to be able to combine their islands of technology together easily.”
According to Formation Tech, while Avaya offers the wide variety of solution that today’s companies need to maintain flexibility in their strategy and move in a “phased” approach to the cloud, there are still people that don’t know what’s possible with Avaya.
“There are plenty of customers out there that still don’t know that Avaya has a full cloud offering”
“There are a lot of channel partners out there that are happy to sit back and offer their customers maintenance rather than allowing them to build the right strategy into the cloud. That means that Avaya’s cloud message isn’t reaching the market properly.”
What are the Cloud Options Available with Avaya?
As Dan and Carl noted, there are 3 discrete cloud solutions now available and they each have very clear target markets. The company is focusing on offering a flexible solution based on what the customer needs.
For the SME market, there’s a containerised public cloud solution , designed and built in Google Cloud. “This is managed by Avaya and is perfect as an agency model for mobile suppliers or IT companies that just want to add UC to their portfolio. It’s designed for the sub 100 extension space and for customers that have fairly straight forward UC requirements”
To address the mid-market space or for customers with more complex requirements such as contact centre there is the “Powered By IP Office” cloud offering. Powered By IP Office is a cloud deployment delivered by managed service providers such as Formation Tech, who are able to create a tailored cloud environments and offer a managed service wrap. Powered By IP Office is a more bespoke solution and is designed for organisations with 100 to 3,000 employees.
“Finally there’s One Cloud Ready Now, which most companies don’t know anything about. This is an enterprise-grade cloud solution designed for large mid-market and corporate customers, that uses private data centres across the globe. Avaya builds and manages the private cloud, but it’s not a public over-the-top (OTT) solution – making it ideal for financial and government agencies.”
In Formation Tech’s opinion, Avaya has a clearly defined cloud strategy, Google Cloud for SMEs, Powered By IP Office to address the mid-market and One Cloud Ready Now for the enterprise space. However, the company isn’t as good as it needs to be at communicating the possibilities of its portfolio to the outside world.
What’s Your Advice on Taking Steps into the Cloud?
For Formation Tech, it seems like the most common way to move into the cloud today is in small steps – particularly for larger companies. Organisations don’t want to get rid of their legacy technology all at once. “We like to reassure our clients that they can absolutely take a phased approach to the cloud.”
For those taking an Avaya strategy to move into the cloud, Dan and Carl said that the most critical first step is often getting the infrastructure and network right. “That’s where we see problems with our customers – when the underlying plumbing isn’t right. If the foundations don’t work, then the rest will struggle too. Formation helps customer address this through network readiness assessments”
Essentially, to get the most out of their cloud transition, companies need to make sure that they’re working with a partner that can provide them with the right support in the long-term. However, they also need to make sure that they’re getting the base layer, or “hygiene layer” as Formation Tech calls it, right. Then they can look into layering in other functionality going forward.
What are the Benefits to Moving into the Cloud with Avaya?
One thing that both Carl and Dan agreed on when it comes to moving into the cloud with Avaya is that it’s more straight forward than most customers expect.
For existing customers, Avaya offers plenty of benefits through their Loyalty2gether migration programme. This benefit package comes with comprehensive options for customers that want to move into the cloud. Users can continue using the endpoints they like, or access offers on the latest Vantage or J Series devices. Additionally, there’s access to credits for Avaya professional services, and starter kits to get people going on the right track.
“If you think about it, even the reduction in legacy spend is enough of an incentive to get people moving towards an Avaya Cloud solution. There’s so much opportunity in the portfolio. You just need to make sure that you’re working with a partner that knows Avaya inside and out so you can get the most out of it.”
In addition, Avaya is also keen to talk to their customers. “They want to get to know their customers, help them better understand the cloud options available to them, and set them up with the right partner based on what they need so that they can get the right results.”
Formation regularly runs webinars to help customers understand more about the Avaya cloud options available to them. If you’re interested in joining one of these webinars, please select and register for your chosen webinar.