Avaya Operations Services (AOS)--Ever Heard of Them?

I hadn't until recently. I've also come to understand that many in our industry haven't heard of Avaya Operations Services (AOS) either, so at least I'm in good company.

I haven't seen them in recent industry analysis of the UCaaS players either, but given their recent recognition in May 2011 by the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA), I'm wondering if this just a marketing problem? See this link for more on their TSIA award.

Regardless, after speaking with Lee Koelbl, Leader, Avaya Hosted Solutions, for this post I thought I'd share an overview of AOS and then discuss their hosted offerings. I'll leave discussion on AOS's managed services for another column.

First, Avaya Operations Services offers both hosted and managed services targeting medium to large enterprise customers (>500 users) in North America. Currently, sales outside the US are considered on a case-by-case basis and are negotiated as custom deals. According to Lee, AOS has approximately 600 employees, and including both hosted and managed solution offerings, AOS supports 450 customers, 2.3 million TDM/IPT endpoints, 200K call center seats, and roughly 23K data devices (supporting switches/routers from both Avaya-Nortel and other manufacturers).

Avaya Hosted Solutions
Avaya's hosted solutions offering is actually carry-over from the Nortel acquisition, with deployments currently based on a Nortel CS2100 and Nortel Contact Center infrastructure; but they’re rapidly migrating to Avaya Aura Communications Manager and Contact Center platforms. This transition to a full Avaya Aura infrastructure is expected to be completed by 4Q2011.

Sold primarily through the indirect channel business partners, Avaya's UCaaS "cloud" resides across three Avaya owned or managed data centers in the US. Today, Avaya has five business partners (a mix of carrier and non-carrier partners) approved to resell hosted solutions. Again, generally available in the North America region today, their hosted solutions portfolio is scheduled to be available internationally in the 2012-2013 timeframe.

Hosted solutions are delivered using what AOS characterizes as a utility or usage based model, but as you'll see in the pricing examples, their pricing model may better be described as really user-based.

Avaya's hosted solution is typically made up of the following four components:

* Avaya Hosted IP Telephony, Messaging, and Contact Center applications
* Quality of Service (QoS) enabled WAN (typically MPLS) connecting customer site(s) to Avaya Data Center
* QoS enabled LAN at the customer site(s) for end-to-end QoS network
* IP endpoints and gateways to connect the customer to the PSTN

Currently, AOS hosted services are offered in the following solution packages with budgetary pricing examples:

The table above presents only a very high level summary of the capabilities offered with each solution package. To better understand all of the features/functions associated with each, you'll need to review each offer carefully with AOS.

Avaya's hosted services have two cost components:

One-time: For IP endpoint and gateway equipment plus installation, and professional services for design, installation, testing, and training.

Recurring: Per-user recurring monthly cost; actual monthly user cost is highly dependent on the contract term, number of users, and final negotiated pricing.

The minimum hosted service order size is based on the following requirements:

IPT/UC: 100 users
Contact Center: 100 Agent positions
Messaging: 5,000 standalone messaging mailboxes

Standard contract terms range from 12-60 months, with implementation lead times varying from 6-8 weeks for IP telephony to 20 weeks for contact center environments.

After the initial project installation, companies are entitled to a preset number of move, add, change (MAC) requests each month. The number of "free" MAC requests is based on a percentage of the total number of users (typically 20%). For example, if you have 1,000 users, you can have 200 MAC requests over a 12 month period (20% of 1,000). These total requests are then prorated on a monthly basis. Again, if you are entitled to 200 annual MAC requests, you can have up to 16 requests per month at no charge (200 annual MAC requests/12 months). Of course, you can have more requests than your allotment, however, there is an additional cost for this support.

As you look at UCaaS (and I trust most of you are), it may be interesting to throw AOS in to the mix if you haven't already.

And for those readers that are using AOS hosted services today, I would love to hear more about your experiences with them (good and bad) during both the implementation and post-implementation phases.

Up next, I'll look at Cisco's enterprise tablet--Cius.

Until then, all the best.

Doug Carolus is the Director of Communication Solutions at N'compass Solutions; an independent consulting firm in Minneapolis, MN. N'compass provides professional consulting services for Data Center solutions and communication technologies such as IP telephony, unified communications, carrier services, video/video security, virtualization, and virtual desktops. He can be reached at [email protected]