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Avaya and RingCentral Expand Their Partnership

This week, Avaya and the International Avaya Users Group (IAUG) are holding the annual Engage user event in Denver, CO. The conference brings Avaya stakeholders such as customers, resellers, partners, and anyone who wants to learn about the latest and greatest in Avaya innovation. Historically, Avaya has used the event to launch “big news.” So far, Engage 2024 is no different as Avaya and RingCentral announced an expansion to their strategic relationship.


Mix and Match Avaya Flavors

The new offering integrates RingCentral’s UC suite with Avaya Aura, extending RingCentral across Avaya’s customer base. Avaya currently offers Avaya Cloud Office by RingCentral, Avaya’s exclusive UCaaS solution, as an IP Office replacement, primarily directed at SMB customers. Avaya Aura is a rock-solid calling platform widely deployed across large enterprises. Now, customers can migrate to RingCentral’s collaboration capabilities but retain their Avaya Aura for telephony.

The new offering lets customers mix and match Avaya flavors. While most of the IP Office install base is SMBs, a large percentage of the enterprise base has used it in branch offices to complement Aura in the headquarters. The enhanced relationship would enable a large enterprise to use ACO in branch offices, keep Aura for more prominent locations, and bring in RingCentral. This would provide seamless collaboration across the company with Avaya Aura and ACO deployed in a hybrid mode.


Welcoming AI

Customers can also access RingSense AI, RingCentral’s generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI) platform. RingCentral designed RingSense to increase worker productivity and facilitate collaboration. Avaya customers can access core features such as live transcription, closed captioning, video summaries, and video highlights.

AI in collaboration can have significant benefits for customers, and that is being reflected in customer commentary. “In the digital age, embracing technology isn’t just about convenience; it’s about unlocking new possibilities and empowering businesses to thrive. With RingSense, Seneca Foods can connect seamlessly, access support, and elevate their communication game,” said Tim Eddinger, Enterprise Networks Manager, Seneca Foods, an ACO customer.


Teaming Up for Voice

As part of the expanded relationship, the direct routing and RingCentral for Microsoft Team calling will be available for ACO customers. For all the innovation Microsoft has delivered to Teams, its big weakness is calling. RingCentral was quick to jump on the Teams calling train and is one of the leading telephony providers to the Microsoft platform. ACO customers can now embrace Teams and be assured of the five-nines reliable calling.

One last piece to the partnership puzzle is that the Avaya Experience Platform (AXP) public cloud contact center is integrated with ACO. Historically, if a customer deployed both, users would need to run both independently making them the integration point. Post integration, workers will experience a single environment that spans back office to front office.

At Avaya Engage, I discussed partnership updates with RingCentral CEO Vlad Shmunis. He mentioned that the two companies have worked diligently to create feature parity between ACO and RingEX. Typically, there has been about a one-release feature lag between the two, which can create confusion with customers and channel partners. The Teams integration is a big part of creating a “like-for-like” experience.


My Take

The expansion of the expanded RingCentral-Avaya partnership was important for several reasons. Most notably, Avaya’s value proposition and brand promise of “Choose Your Journey” and “Innovation Without Disruption” are rooted in users having control over their transformation path. The integrations with RingCentral coupled with the recent integrations with Zoom and Microsoft Teams gives Avaya customers full control over how they modernize communications.

This sentiment is being shared by the channel. I discussed the expanded partnership with Amrit Chaudhuri, Chief Growth Officer at C1, and he told me, “C1 has a long history of working and partnering with Avaya and RingCentral, and we are excited about the new hybrid solution announced at Avaya Engage. We have a large customer base that can benefit from the best of Avaya and RingCentral’s product innovations to enable simplified and seamless management of communications and collaboration technologies. These enhancements are essential for creating better employee and customer experiences and thriving in today’s dynamic business environment.”

By partnering with Teams, Zoom, and RingCentral – three of the most common UCaaS platforms – Avaya can do what it does best: deliver reliable voice and contact center capabilities and ensure customers can bring in the collaboration partner of their choice while being assured of interoperability. It may seem counterintuitive to integrate deeply with a competitor, but better vendor interoperability is something customers have been requesting for decades, and the industry has failed to deliver it.

Also, over the past year or so, there has been industry chatter regarding cracks in the RingCentral-Avaya relationship. Rumors are rumors, but where there is smoke, there is fire, so there were likely issues that came up and needed tweaking. The good news for Avaya customers is that both parties have worked together to resolve any differences they may have had and now further extended the partnership in multiple, meaningful ways. Typically, when vendors do what’s best for the customer, things work out in the end, and that’s what both companies did.

When Alan Masarek took the helm of Avaya he had several priorities, both internal and external. One of the items he was most emphatic about was listening to customers and doing right by them. It’s no secret that Teams, Zoom, and RingCentral are in Avaya accounts. One just needs to talk to customers to find this out. Masarek could have stuck his head in the sand and refused to admit Avaya customers were using other products, fighting the headwind. Instead, the partnerships can turn those headwinds into tailwinds.


Want to know more?

Check out these other NJ articles about Avaya’s news:

  • Avaya Acquires Edify: The buy, which adds orchestration and workflow capabilities helps bolster the Avaya Experience Platform, signals a consolidation in the contact center market.
  • Avaya’s 2024 Analyst Summit: Now it’s time for Masarek and the team to execute consistently and turn their strategy roadmap into sales success.
  • Avaya and Zoom: In striking a go-to-market UC Alliance, the vendors solve unified communications, from A to Z.
  • Avaya adds personnel depth: The company’s new hires add cloud, acquisitions, engineering depth to executive team. Since August 2022, Avaya has experienced tremendous change but is likely past the worst of it. What’s emerging now is an implausibly different company.
  • Finally, here’s a quick summary of Avaya’s recent history.