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Avaya Maps Out Migration Plan for Nortel Customers

Whats next? IT managers often ask that question once an acquisition takes place. Nortel customers, who have been twisting in the wind for more than a year, now have a few answers to what Avaya plans to do with customers networking gear, some of which they will like and other they may not.Nortel customers will find that Avayas roadmap centers largely on moving businesses to its unified communications platform. Eventually, Avaya Partner and Integral 5 key systems as well as Nortel Norstar systems and Nortel Business Communications Manager hybrid PBXs will be brought under Avayas IP Office s umbrella.

Since the company does not expect customers to rip out their existing system, it has developed a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) software layer, Avayas Aura communication software, to help with the transition. This software will act as a buffer between communications infrastructure, such as PBXs, and services, such as voice, video, messaging, and conferencing. Nortel customers will be able to run Avaya software and even use Avaya phones with their existing hardware and vice versa. Avaya plans to deliver this functionality in phases and have it fully available by the end of the year.

The two companies also had overlapping contact centers solutions. Here, Nortel's Contact Center, which was geared to mid-sized businesses, emerged as the winner. Over the next six to nine months, revisions of Nortel's Contact Center will prepare it to replace Avayas Contact Center Express.

Avaya has been the leading supplier of IP PBX solutions, and its acquisition of Nortels assets and customer base solidified that position. If Avaya is able to follow through on its plan to deliver the various software components, then it should be in a solid position to remain a top player in the near term.

In addition to the IP PBX products, Avaya acquired Nortels switches, network security and wireless gear. The fate of those devices is less clear. These products have been commoditized recently, and vendors have been trying to move out of that market space. Time will tell what Avaya will do with its Nortel networking gear, but selling it off would not be a surprise, and something that customers should take into account when mapping out their long term plans.

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