One of the buzzwords around Avaya these days is 'pods.' The company is pushing its Collaboration
Pods with more models and functions for its portfolio of communications and collaboration solutions aimed at enterprise
and cloud service providers.
Avaya Collaboration Pods are based on technology from Avaya, EMC, and VMware. The pods make it possible to deliver virtualized applications, computing, storage and networking, with administrative and provisioning functions consolidated in what Avaya calls a "single orchestration system."
Avaya offers integrated support for Collaboration Pod components, which promises to make it easier to upgrade software and do away with the need for support coverage from multiple vendors. Avaya also claims its Collaboration Pods can reduce the time to deploy virtualized real-time applications from months to weeks. The company first announced the solution in April.
The pods will be generally available in the third quarter, but some partners -- like Connex, Integration Partners, and ROI Networks -- are already embracing the technology.
"The Avaya Collaboration Pod enables us to offer powerful unified communications and video solutions to our customers regardless of whether they are looking for premise-based or cloud-based or any permutation in between,” said Jeff Hiebert, CEO of ROI Networks. “The integrated full stack, ready-to-deploy solution provides us with a platform that is easier to manage, provision, support and troubleshoot."
Can Pods Reduce Costs?
We reached out to analyst Tim Banting at Current Analysis to learn more about the concept of Avaya’s pods. He told us the main benefits he sees are economies of scale plus ease of deployment and management -- and these all relate to the points Avaya makes in terms of reducing the total cost of ownership.
“Customers are looking towards the cloud to reduce the high implementation costs of premises-based solutions and the ongoing management of such systems,” Banting said. Cloud solutions aim to provide "a lower cost of ownership and a ‘pay-as-you-go’ model. This does, however mean big shifts in the traditional partner channels.”
For starters, he said, the front-end costs are now on the channel partner’s books and not the customer's. This also means the service costs associated with design and implementation are also lower for a channel partner. While the lower cost is great for customers, it may cause a loss for channel partners who are accustomed to the revenue from upfront setup services.
Identity, Branding, Flexibility
As Banting sees it, the follow-on effect is that channel partners will have to look at creating new services to make up the revenue shortfall. He suggests consulting, managed services, or outsourcing as potential service areas.
Of this Banting is sure: Partners are clearly looking for solutions that provide a quick return to value, and don’t necessarily want to create their own cloud-based unified communications solutions from the ground up.
“Avaya looks to be offering more of a pre-build model where deployment times are shortened and ongoing administration and management are simplified,” Banting said.
“This also leaves room for partners to create their own sense of identity and branding around the cloud services they want to provide for their customers, on a platform that has been optimized by the vendor for cloud delivery. It also allows partners to create more flexible commercial terms for their customers.”