Ronald Hudson - Fotolia

Avaya Zang UC, team collaboration launched under bankruptcy cloud

The new Avaya Zang cloud-based UC services will compete with Cisco Spark and Microsoft Skype for Business. But getting customers may be difficult due to the Avaya bankruptcy.

Avaya, which is operating under the uncertainty of bankruptcy, has introduced a cloud-based phone service for small and midsize companies. The company also launched this week an online team messaging service that would compete with Cisco Spark and Microsoft Skype for Business.

Avaya unveiled Zang Office and Zang Spaces at its ENGAGE conference in Las Vegas. Avaya's spinoff business, Zang, will sell the cloud services. Avaya Zang was launched last year.

Zang Office provides local or toll-free numbers, interactive voice response (IVR), voicemail-to-email translations and conference calling. Online tools let administrators configure and make changes to the IVR, view call logs and manage account settings. Customers can choose to use landline phones, mobile clients for iOS and Android devices or soft clients on a desktop.

Avaya Zang plays catch-up

They [Avaya] are definitely late to market.
Irwin Lazaranalyst at Nemertes Research

Zang Office will have to play catch-up to products from established vendors, such as 8x8 and RingCentral, said Irwin Lazar, an analyst at Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill. "They [Avaya] are definitely late to market."

The most likely buyers of Zang Office are companies that want to gradually migrate from Avaya's on-premises telephone systems to a cloud-based product, Lazar said. Zang Office is unlikely to attract new customers because of the uncertainty around Avaya's future.

In January, Avaya filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to start a court-monitored reorganization of a $6 billion debt the company couldn't pay back through normal operations.

"Although Avaya positions Chapter 11 as a simple restructuring, the fact is they are not in control of the outcome," said independent UC analyst and TechTarget contributor Dave Michels. "Chapter 11 could be relatively minor, or [it] could also mean the end of product lines and/or the sale of divisions."

Avaya's rivals Cisco and RingCentral have launched public campaigns to steal customers worried about the company's future. Nemertes expects most Avaya customers to stay, but not to add new products.

"The impact of Chapter 11 will be to freeze any new investments until the future of Avaya is more clear," Lazar said.

Avaya Zang Spaces

Zang Spaces is an online-only application for creating virtual meeting places for teams of employees. Features include messaging and content sharing. Voice and video calling integration are also available.

While Spaces is not late to market, it "may have trouble getting recognition in what is becoming a very crowded, emerging area," Michels said. Competitors include Cisco's Spark, Microsoft's Skype for Business and Slack's namesake product.

Zang Spaces is priced on a tiered model, starting with a free basic package that includes messaging and file and video sharing for up to three people. Zang Office starts at $8 per user, per month.

Next Steps

Shopping for the best UC and collaboration tools

Integrating UC and collaboration into corporate culture

Expanding the mobile capabilities in UC and collaboration tools

Dig Deeper on Communication Integration with Enterprise Applications