One of the final chapters in Nortel’s history has now been written. Nortel’s vaunted Enterprise Solutions unit has been acquired by Avaya, a company that, similar to Nortel, traces its origins back to Alexander Graham Bell’s original patent for the telephone in 1874.
This week, Avaya announced its roadmap for the integration and continuation of products and services from Nortel and it’s good news for customers of both companies as Avaya management has found a way to meld the best offerings from both companies into a unified set of products. However, there are a few speed bumps ahead.
First, customers not on the platform that becomes part of the merged product line face a forklift upgrade and significant cost in the not so distant future as the product portfolios from Nortel and Avaya were largely proprietary and incompatible with one another.
In addition, based on how past mergers of similarly-sized tech firms have fared, Avaya faces multiple challenges as it integrates multiple platforms and workgroups while trying to maintain its ability to service its customers at the levels they require and are accustomed to. In addition, Avaya expects to support its newly-expanded product portfolio with a newly-shrunk workforce.
The flagship unified communications offering for Avaya will be Avaya Aura. Aura will be enhanced with the addition of Avaya (formerly Nortel) Agile Communications Environment (ACE) as well as the inclusion of technology from Nortel for a common management infrastructure. For existing Nortel customers, Aura can be added and will sit on top of existing deployments. Likewise, Aura customers can add Nortel solutions to their deployments.
In the roadmap, Avaya laid out a move towards a SIP-based system that is multimodal with an open rules engine and conference-based communications. To this end, Avaya Contact Center Elite will continue as the flagship enterprise solution, and Nortel Contact Center 7 will remain as a mid market solution. The release of Contact Center 8 will add features and technology from Contact Center Elite, with the ultimate goal of improving scalability in order to enable the company to offer one contact center solution to cover everything from the middle market to high-end deployments.
For the small- and mid-sized enterprise market, Avaya plans to continue to supply Nortel Business Communications Manager, Norstar, Partner, and Integral 5, but it will eventually merge these solutions into Avaya IP Office as the flagship hybrid offering. Nortel’s Software Communication System will be the flagship offering for SIP environments.
With regard to data products, Avaya announced it will adopt the current roadmap of data products from Nortel, including offerings for Ethernet Switching, Routers, Wireless Networking, Access Control, and Unified Management.
What Avaya has released thus far is a roadmap and there are many details that have not yet been released that should clarify further what Avaya’s combined offerings will look like. Avaya did have plenty of time to contemplate and prepare for the merger and, if nothing else, we give them an A+ for effort here.
Cody Burke is a senior analyst at Basex.