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Avaya kicks off partner recruitment for UCaaS launch

Avaya previews first unified communications-as-a-service product Cloud Office following partnership with RingCentral

Avaya is on the hunt for partners to take a new unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) offering, in partnership with RingCentral, to market.

Avaya Cloud Office will be the first product to roll out after the two firms signed an agreement in October 2019, which expedites Avaya’s move into the cloud and bolsters RingCentral’s channel presence.

“We get the leader in UCaaS and marry that up with our sales and marketing and our channel,” said Mike Kuch, senior director of solutions marketing at Avaya. “We’ll put our own portal and logos on it, and we’ll sell it and market it with our channel partners, but the technology is 100% RingCentral.”

The vendor is looking to sign up a host of new partners for the offering, which combines RingCentral’s UCaaS platform with Avaya phones, when it launches in the US at the end of March and in the UK in June.

Avaya is focusing on recruiting master agents, which it hopes will act as an entry for volume partners. At its Avaya Engage user event this week, the company revealed plans to train and certify hundreds of partners on the public cloud solution in preparation for launch.

However, Tony Parrish, CEO of long-term Avaya partner Aura, noted that while the recurring revenue model is good news for delivering high multiples of profit for the business, an Avaya-branded service operated by RingCentral may mean partners miss out.

“Any private equity house will see a contract that’s not on your paper as a higher risk. If you build a business writing on someone else’s paper, it’s an agent model,” he told MicroScope, adding that this has led the firm to currently look at becoming a master agent.

“We’ve got quite a lot of small partners around the world, and they’re looking to us for guidance. What we try to do is bring together some cool services, because you can’t make so much money from the tin as you used to do. UC is becoming a commodity that you can just make a few points out of, so you’ve got to be able to offer managed services around that as the environment is more complicated.”

Jon Brinton, Avaya’s vice-president of North America channel sales, who also has responsibility for overseeing the global Avaya Edge partner programme, told MicroScope: “Whether it’s on [the customer’s] paper or on Avaya Cloud Office paper, how the service is contracted is less important in the real world than the fact that the customer owns the customer [and is in control].

“It might be a change to some of their classic business models, but that’s where the market is today. That’s part of the reason why we’re introducing the agent community, because we want to reach the customer, and the customer is going to make the decision.”

Avaya Cloud Office replaces OneCloud IX Workplace, which will stop being sold on 31 March.

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