Avaya is expanding its ReadyNow unified communications and contact center cloud offerings to markets in Europe, Africa and Asia -- in part by hosting the technology in IBM data centers.
Avaya will use IBM's cloud infrastructure to make ReadyNow available in geographical locations where it lacks data centers, or where the colocation facilities in which it rents space are full. Avaya is also growing its infrastructure to support ReadyNow's international expansion.
ReadyNow is available today in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The service will come to the Asia-Pacific region in the coming months. Avaya has been selling the product primarily in the United States since its launch in January.
The partnership with IBM will also allow Avaya to make use of the Watson AI platform. For example, Avaya said it would be able to quickly add an AI assistant for customer engagement to a ReadyNow contact center deployment.
Analyst skeptical of ReadyNow's long-term value
ReadyNow is a virtual private cloud offering: Each customer uses a separate instance of software, but all of them share physical resources, such as servers. Avaya said it designed the product to meet the needs of large businesses, many of which believe that multitenant public clouds are not secure enough, or don't provide a satisfactory level of customization.
On an Aug. 13 conference call with investors, Avaya CEO Jim Chirico said the company's ReadyNow contracts to date were valued at roughly $75 million. The company is investing tens of millions of dollars in the cloud infrastructure to support ReadyNow, executives said on the call, according to a transcript posted by the financial website Seeking Alpha.
ReadyNow meets a demand in the market today, said Steve Blood, analyst at Gartner. But the success of multitenant cloud vendors like Salesforce makes it clear that businesses will eventually move away from hosted cloud products like ReadyNow, he said.
"I don't see anything innovative here. Avaya has been telling us they've been doing private cloud for years," Blood said. "Ultimately, at the core of the proposition, Avaya is sweating its established product asset with new marketing and perhaps some different monetary offers."
Avaya continues strategic review
Meanwhile, Avaya is on the verge of completing a review of "strategic alternatives" to compensate shareholders, which could include selling itself to a private equity firm, just as it did in 2007.
On the Aug. 13 call, Avaya said it was in advanced talks with multiple parties and would make an announcement within 30 days. But on Sept. 12, the company said its review was ongoing and would continue indefinitely.
Bloomberg recently reported that Avaya was in talks with cloud UC vendor RingCentral for a joint venture of some kind.