IBM and Avaya team on unified communications

IBM and Avaya team on unified communications

IBM and Avaya, the Lucent Technologies spinoff, announced a partnership Wednesday to jointly create solutions in the unified communications, CRM for contact center, and Web-based e-commerce arenas.

Under the terms of the deal, IBM Global Services, the systems integration wing of the Armonk, N.Y. giant, will develop consulting and implementation services for Avaya's applications.

In the unified communications space, IBM will help sell and support Avaya's existing family of solutions, particularly its Unified Messenger application, which unites voice mail, e-mail, and fax messages for mobile and remote users. The deal represents IBM Global Service's first foray into unified communications support, according to Avaya's Greg Sloan, vice-president of the IBM alliance.

IBM will also develop consulting, design, and implementation services for Avaya's CRM solutions in an attempt to deliver a complete contact center application that supports voice, e-mail, Web chat, Web self-service, and fax.

Finally, IBM and Avaya plan to develop contact center applications to integrate the Web with call center networks, along with an e-commerce application for Web-based transactions.

Avaya also announced a partnership on Wednesday with IBM's Lotus group to develop a Lotus Notes/Domino-compatible version of the Unified Messenger application, thereby boosting the presence of Avaya's software in large enterprises.

"Our target market [for Unified Messenger] is the Fortune 500 clients," Sloan said.

Executives from both companies touted the deal as a merger of complementary partners with different core competencies.

"Under this agreement, IBM Global Services is better positioned to help customers that choose Avaya's solutions realise the benefits of leading-edge technology by designing, implementing, and deploying these solutions while reducing their costs," said Frank Broderick, IBM's vice president for networking services, in a statement.

The announcement formalises a partnership between the two companies, Sloan said.

"We think that, by enabling IBM and Avaya associates to jointly make sales calls, we'll increase our market share, reduce sales cycles, and deliver solutions in a much more effective, repeatable, and easily-deployable model," Sloan said.

An Avaya press release forecasted that the two companies plan to serve more than 90 per cent of the unified messaging market, which could grow from $US498 million in 2000 to $8 billion in 2005, according to Radicati Group research firm.

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