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HP draws on Avaya as a unified communications partner

Because of the agreement, HP can offer direct support for and training on Avaya products rather than having to collaborate case by case with vendors that are not partners.

HP and Avaya say they agree that interoperability among vendors' products is the best way to go in order to give customers the broadest choices in UC and contact centers. This is in contrast to Cisco's approach that calls for using all Cisco products.

The term of the HP-Avaya agreement is three years during which HP sales and services teams will be trained and certified in Avaya UC and call center products. The arrangement is more than a reseller agreement, HP says. HP has a similar 10-year agreement with Avaya competitor Alcatel-Lucent, and HP says it regards these overlapping alliances as a way to support more choices for its customers. HP also has a UC alliance with Microsoft, but its offerings don't overlap with Avaya's.

The products involved include Avaya products designed for large businesses, but not those meant for small businesses, Avaya says.

In addition to training in products, the two companies will share the same marketing messages about the value of UC and IP voice to corporate bottom lines and to achieving business goals. In consultation with customers, HP will push infrastructure that builds on gear customers already have in place in order to minimize new investment while gaining new benefits of UC, the company says.

HP says customers will drive the decision over which vendor's technology to use. If an HP customer decides to use Avaya gear, they will buy it through HP and won't deal with Avaya directly. Customers can buy the gear and manage it themselves or can outsource management to HP.

HP already has workshops it offers to CIOs to facilitate transforming data centers, and it plans to expand them to include new sessions for thinking through transitions to unified communications and collaboration technologies.

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