Avaya, Zoom Launch Partner-Ripe AI Offer

Avaya’s UCC suite will soon share "tight" AI integration with Zoom Workplace, which also launched Monday at Enterprise Connect.

Moshe Beauford, Contributing Editor

March 25, 2024

5 Min Read
Enterprise Connect: Avaya-Zoom
JP Chret/Shutterstock

ENTERPRISE CONNECT — Day one of the four-day enterprise technology conference in Orlando, Florida, saw unified communications giant Avaya announce a native integration with Zoom’s newly launched workplace optimization solution, Zoom Workplace.

The tool, announced Monday by Zoom, adds artificial intelligence capabilities into the meetings, chat, scheduling and Zoom's whiteboard experience — along with lending users access to Zoom AI Companion, a generative AI digital assistant

Avaya said customers who leverage its core communications and collaboration suite will gain access to a “tight integration” with Zoom Workplace over the coming months, developing an alliance, which the duo expects, will improve employee productivity in the workplace. 

According to Avaya CEO Alan Masarek, the interoperability opportunity with Zoom came from customer demand, the customer who already leverages collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Webex, etc.

Avaya's Alan Masarek

Avaya, too, launched what it calls its Communication and Collaboration Suite — an offer that lets customers select where they want to host their communications and collaboration needs, be it private/public cloud or on-premises, where many of Avaya’s user base resides.

The UC vendor further revamped the naming structure of the Avaya Experience Platform. What was once called “Avaya Call Center Elite” is now “Avaya Experience Platform, On-Prem.” 

Related:Enterprise Connect New Products: RingCentral, Zoom, Five9, Avaya, More

Avaya’s enterprise cloud solution is now called the “Avaya Experience Platform, Private Cloud” and its former contact-center-as-a-service (CCaaS) solution is “Avaya Experience Platform, Public Cloud.”

Vendors Expected to Continue Partnering for the Customer's Sake

As analysts continue to foreshadow interoperability, a healthy understanding has emerged. It appears that vendors will have to work with their competitors — something Avaya asserts it will continue to do.  

With more companies working with rivals, perhaps giving in to the idea of keeping friends close and enemies closer, Masarek told Channel Futures, it works to their advantage.

"We do not refer to the market as unified communications anymore. We mostly refer to it as unified communications and collaboration," he said. 

Avaya saw it as essential to "play in that world" as a leader in the unified communications space, Masarek added.

"We want to give that user the ability to access Avaya telephony from the Zoom interface," the UC exec shared.

Masarek said that agents, value-added resellers (VARs) and MSPs all stand to gain from the relationship, telling us the incentive to work with Avaya resides in the fact that customers are demanding it, "take a 10,000 end-point hospital chain, for instance," Masarek said. "They don't want to rip out the core stuff underneath, but they use Zoom."

Those users can keep each analog line, lines getting used at nursing stations, etc., but, Masarek contends, they can have that entire experience from a single pane of glass.

"That's something customers want. They don't want to have multiple user interfaces ... and that's something a partner can sell," Masarek told Channel Futures. 

Enterprise Connect 2024, Cultivating a Partner-Ripe Offer

Enterprise Connect 2024 is shaping up to be one for the books, with Zoom stating the Avaya partnership was the “biggest news announcement that Zoom will make this year.” 

Avaya's CEO reinforced the pivotal nature of the partnership in a recent sitdown with Channel Futures, telling us the goal is to give Avaya customers additional value from their existing investments in Avaya's private cloud and premise-based solutions while benefiting from Zoom’s AI-powered collaboration platform. 

Masarek, recognizing companies use various vendors to do work, wanted to address many of Avaya's core customer base that deploy Zoom but don't want to do what he called a total "rip-and-replace." 

"There are a lot of different opportunities for the channel to take Zoom products and enhance them by adding further value to them in the form of training, management and even support," noted Irwin Lazar, president and principal analyst at research firm Metrigy.

Metrigy's Irwin Lazar

Lazar further shared that training is where the partner community will likely shine as AI continues to gain traction among all the prominent vendors. That means that partners will coach businesses on what AI is, how to measure it and how to optimize/enhance things such as company workflows. 

Citing Metrigy data, Lazar said more than 70% of companies want to merge their unified communications and contact center efforts, underscoring the move as one that could prove noteworthy for the channel community.

While Avaya and Zoom continue to hash out components of the deal like pricing, Masarek told Channel Futures this partnership is merely the first in an installment of other close-knit integrations to come, ones Avaya assures us will benefit customers.

Zoom’s Take on the Avaya Partnership at Enterprise Connect 2024

“The introduction of Zoom Workplace heightens the value proposition for Zoom’s channel partners. Zoom Workplace will solve real customer problems by bringing the most important solutions into a single platform to improve productivity, efficiency and the overall workday, all within the Zoom experience users trust and love," a spokesperson for Zoom said.

They added, that with Zoom Workplace, Zoom delivers “unparalleled value through a unified offering that simplifies bringing this comprehensive solution to the market for partners.” 

Overall, the company said, Zoom Workplace is looking to minimize workplace complexity while maximizing efficiency, “making it easier for partners to sell and for customers to adopt a more collaborative and productive work environment,” calling the offer a “revenue accelerator.”

Partners, Zoom told Channel Futures, can continue to underscore Zoom’s “unique AI capabilities, including the latest AI Companion innovations.” That includes features like “AI Companion,” which gathers, synthesizes and shares information from Zoom Meetings, mail, Team Chat, notes, docs, and more — an offering available at no additional cost," Zoom shared with Channel Futures.

About the Author(s)

Moshe Beauford

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Moshe has nearly a decade of expertise reporting on enterprise technology. Within that world, he covers breaking news, artificial intelligence, contact center, unified communications, collaboration, cloud adoption (digital transformation), user/customer experience, hardware/software, etc.

As a contributing editor at Channel Futures, Moshe covers unified communications/collaboration from a channel angle. He formerly served as senior editor at GetVoIP News and as a tech reporter at UC/CX Today.

Moshe also has contributed to Unleash, Workspace-Connect, Paste Magazine, Claims Magazine, Property Casualty 360, the Independent, Gizmodo UK, and ‘CBD Intel.’ In addition to reporting, he spends time DJing electronic music and playing the violin. He resides in Mexico.

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