We’re Meeting the SMB Need say Avaya

Chris Barrow, Solutions Marketing Manager, Avaya says “We understand the needs of an SMB are quite different to a large enterprise and trying to shoehorn a cut-down enterprise product into this market segment just doesn’t work.

Avaya’s IP Office – specifically the IP500 system – is one of our flagship products and is a trusted revenue earner for our channel partners and resellers. I’d go so far as to say that resellers love it! It can be customised to do almost anything that a customer asks it to do, and an experienced IP Office reseller seldom loses a deal because whatever the customer asks for can usually be delivered!

For example, IP Office starts from eight users and grows in increments of two-eight users up to 272 without having to change the main system unit. What’s more, up to 32 users can be supported in one physical box, using the plug-in modules, while additional boxes are added to scale above this number.

What this modular approach means is that as a customer’s business grows their PBX can grow with them. This is a great sales differentiator for our partners ; it means their customers only have to buy the number of extensions and trunks they need today. This contrasts to many PBXs aimed at the SMB market which require a complete replacement if the user base grows. This can be both costly and time consuming for the customer and makes it a difficult sell for the channel partner.

Other functionality which we know makes IP Office a good sales tool is its multi-location capabilities. Even small businesses often have more than one location, and IP Office can seamlessly network between multiple sites (up to 32 max) to behave like one, integrated system for the whole company. It also expands basic functionality such as hunt groups and busy lamps so that these can be used across multiple site. Something other systems don’t do.

What is the state of play with IP?`

Small businesses are increasingly adopting IP Telephony. In fact, about 25 per cent of phones sold to the SMB market are now IP and this trend will certainly continue. Of course, that is not to undermine the digital/TDM market which is still very strong. Market feedback is that increasingly SMB customers are taking an evolutionary approach to IPT. This is where IP Office has a real strength – it does both IP and digital/TDM very well, and can easily mix the two. A customer can start mostly with TDM, and migrate over time to add more IP to the system; or start outright with a pure-IP solution. This has proved a great selling point for our channel partners as some of our main competitors can only offer this market segment a rip and replace solution.

What integrated applications they are providing for the channel?

Avaya’s Integrated Applications are tightly integrated with the IP Office system and can give a relatively small SMB the same functionality as a much larger enterprise including call recording, indexed storage and retrieval.

A particularly popular application is Compact Contact Center (CCC). It reports on how well the end user’s customers’ calls are getting answered and responded to. It can measure customer service KPIs such as maximum waiting times and how many hang up before being answered. It also reports on the productivity of staff, providing the ability to manage staff and improve productivity based on factual information, as well as managing how call are distributed and managed across a team of people.

With IP Office, adding voicemail is as simple as plugging a card into the main system unit – this is often ideal for 24 users. For more advanced functionality, such as call queue management, and additional capacity, the external server-based Voicemail Pro application is available.

Audio conferencing, including up to 64 callers in Meet-Me conferences, is built into IP Office and more advanced audio conferencing with Internet data sharing is available from server-based Conferencing Center.