Bell Canada standardizes on Avaya for IP systems

Bell Canada continued its IP telephony push with another partnership Wednesday that will see the communications giant standardize on Avaya’s IP communication products.

The company will migrate customers using older Avaya products onto IP-based systems that can include everything from telephony and messaging to conferencing and video.

The Basking Ridge, N.J.-based business telecommunications firm’s contact centre holdings was quite appealing to Bell Canada, according to vice-president of infrastructure, Joe Mardini. Getting further into the contact centre space should yield a fair chunk of business for Bell Canada, he added.

“Contact centres utilize a lot of communications—a lot of voice, a lot of data, and imaging, all over our network. Anything that attaches to our network increases value for us,” Mardini said. They are also growing in popularity, he said, due to their increasing popularity as cost-savers when it comes to customer service and sales.

The standardization deal “really means selling and supporting (their products): installing, maintaining, and ongoing support,” said Mardini.

This situation, said Avaya Canada president Mario Belanger, also eases the training, knowledge, and support burden on the companies.

Bell Canada’s professional services will provide on-the-ground support (doing things like software upgrades), and provide Bell Canada customers with a familiar relationship. “Customers will be able to buy directly from us,” said Mardini.

Avaya itself will benefit from an increased presence in Canada, said Belanger, as the company is attempting to grow further its business there; Bell Canada was an especially attractive partner due to its dominance over the Ontario and Quebec markets, he said.

Bell Canada previously held a standardization deal with Cisco, according to Mardini, but Avaya entered Bell Canada’s radar with its large market share, which he estimated at about 40 per cent. Said Mardini: “We started seeing customer acceptance (of Avaya’s products), especially among key customers. (Avaya’s reach) was both world-wide and localized.”

He also pointed out that, in addition to Avaya’s contact centre connections, the company also has other products that are well in line with Bell Canada’s current strategies, including voice and unified communications.

For instance, this announcement comes in the wake of the unveiling this week of Bell Canada’s Converged Office, a solution run on Nortel hardware and Microsoft software and managed by Bell Canada professional services. It seeks to bring about true collaboration in the enterprise via a business roadmap supportive of unified communications—ubiquitous IP telephony and its collaborative applications—and the ideas it yields.

At the unveiling, Forrester Research principal analyst Rob Koplowitz cited the growing importance in the enterprise of IP telephony in implementing collaboratively-sourced ideas, saying, “In the case of a recession, we will need to leverage our knowledge workers more effectively.”

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