HP extends Avaya deal with unified comms

Avaya will partner with HP to provide integrated enterprise unified communications and collaboration products and services

HP has extended its partnership with Avaya in order to sell Avaya's unified communications and collaboration products to enterprises.

HP announced a three-year extension of the companies' existing partnership on Tuesday, saying it would add a range of integration and consultancy services to complement Avaya's products. The companies have had a partnership for several years, but it had previously focused almost entirely on voice products.

"What this announcement has done is take it to the next level of offering Avaya's full range of technologies, applications and systems. This means the full range of unified communications products," said Tim Banks, solution architect for HP, speaking to ZDNet UK on Wednesday.

HP will provide Avaya's Aura unified communications hardware, software and applications; contact centre applications; client applications; and endpoint hardware. HP will sell those products with what it calls its unified communications and collaboration lifecycle services, which include network and application design, implementation and management, as well as its own unified communications and collaboration portfolio.

HP is encouraging businesses to outsource their unified communications infrastructure and applications, through which it would sell further hosting, consultancy and integration services. On Tuesday, the company promised vertical-specific unified communications offerings based on Avaya's portfolio for healthcare, life sciences and financial services companies, although it did not give further details.

"The value that HP brings is as a systems integrator. We can take products, services and solutions from a range of partners... like Microsoft, Avaya and Alcatel-Lucent, and make those products work together," said Banks.

Banks gave an example of an unnamed business, for which HP had provided a helpdesk offering. The project involved taking unified communications products and integrating the ability for helpdesk workers to communicate and route enquiries by voice, IM or email, as well as locate the person with the skills required for the enquiry in question. The project had required integration between the UC vendor's products, Microsoft Active Directory and a third-party helpdesk offering, Banks said.

In May, HP signed a deal similar to the Avaya agreement to offer Alcatel-Lucent's unified communications and collaboration products to businesses. It had already signed another such deal with Microsoft.

All three deals are aimed to strengthen HP's hand against Cisco, the dominant company in the unified communications marketplace that was formerly a partner of HP. Banks said HP still provides Cisco products when requested by a customer, but added that "the focus has clearly moved for us". In February, Cisco said it had dropped HP as a partner, citing "conflicting visions" of what to deliver to customers.

The combined HP/Avaya offerings will be sold only by HP. Avaya, as with Alcatel-Lucent, will continue to sell its products predominantly through its indirect sales channel.