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Avaya and Microsoft Business Solutions Collaborate to Enable Small and Medium Businesses to Improve Customer Service

07-11-2004
  • Avaya enabling small and medium businesses to use service and support applications to manage, improve their customer contact functions

Avaya announced an agreement enabling it to license Microsoft® Business Solutions CRM (Microsoft CRM) and develop an "all in one" application suite by embedding it with the Avaya IP Office family.

Avaya Inc. (NYSE:AV), a leading global provider of business communications software, systems and services, announced an agreement enabling it to license Microsoft® Business Solutions CRM (Microsoft CRM) and develop an "all in one" application suite by embedding it with the Avaya IP Office family.

The agreement also includes co-marketing and lead generation to enable Microsoft Partners and Avaya BusinessPartners to sell this solution.

The announcement was made at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference and the solution is being demonstrated at the Avaya booth. Avaya IP Office is an "all-in-one" office communication solution that brings together voice, data and communications applications for small and mid-size businesses. The integrated solution is the result of the Avaya vision to deliver packaged applications and hardware solutions for small and medium businesses.

Several small and medium businesses are improving customer service and reducing operational costs using IP Office with Microsoft CRM, based on a relationship that has been built between the companies over the last year. Avaya is providing an integrated solution, which combines telephony data with information from customer databases and enables smaller firms to deliver service levels that rival those of much larger enterprises.

For example, Adams Keegan, a Memphis, Tenn.-based human resources Management Company, is using an integrated Avaya and Microsoft solution to improve customer service and reduce costs. Adams Keegan provides outsourced human resources services to companies across the U.S., communicating with its customers and their employees via phone, fax, Web chat and e-mail. Driving down the cost of these transactions - while delivering superior service - is critical to the company's profitability and growth.

The Avaya IP Office Solution with integrated Microsoft® CRM capabilities is helping Adams Keegan meet its objectives by providing an automated way to capture and access customer information. Rather than having to search for files, the company's human resources specialists now receive immediate PC screen pops with information on incoming callers, giving them access to a complete record of the customer's account and recent interactions. In addition, facsimiles, Web chats and e-mail are automatically routed to the appropriate customer database as they arrive.

Traditionally, CRM (customer relationship management) refers to formal call centers used by enterprises that rely heavily on telephone transactions to conduct business. The Avaya solution combines telephony data with CRM data, enabling a whole new set of applications to manage the entire customer experience. Customer-centric businesses across North America have been eagerly awaiting this technology, which, until now, has only been built for larger enterprises willing and able to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars. Because of the low total cost of ownership and speed of deployment, this new product suite is expected to significantly broaden the market opportunity for both Avaya and its channel partners.

"Customer service is the way many small and medium businesses differentiate themselves in a fiercely competitive market," said Dave Johnson, group vice president, Small and Medium Business Solutions, Avaya. "We are enabling those smaller companies to deliver superior service, which is absolutely critical to their profitability and growth. And we're enabling companies to better manage their business, by gaining new functions, such as tracking the time and cost required for specific transactions."

Avaya is a global market leader in contact center solutions, with more than 20,000 customer care center customers and 500 multi-channel contact center customers worldwide.

"Avaya has significant experience and history in IP telephony, and their vision for what Avaya IP Office can provide has the potential to change the productivity of many small and medium size organizations," said Holly Holt, group product manager, Microsoft CRM. "The combination of Microsoft CRM and Avaya IP Office can help companies to manage their sales and services in a way that gives them a competitive advantage and contributes to the way they manage their bottom line."

The integrated application was introduced to a limited market the second quarter of 2003, with the fully embedded product available by the end of 2004.

About Avaya
Avaya Inc. designs, builds and manages communications networks for more than one million businesses worldwide, including over 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500®. Focused on businesses large to small, Avaya is a world leader in secure and reliable Internet Protocol (IP) telephony systems and communications software applications and services.

Driving the convergence of voice and data communications with business applications - and distinguished by comprehensive worldwide services - Avaya helps customers leverage existing and new networks to achieve superior business results. For more information visit the Avaya Web site: http://www.avaya.com

Editors' notes: The integrated Avaya/Microsoft CRM application includes:

  • Avaya IP Office, which serves as the hardware platform for the integrated Avaya-Microsoft solution for small and medium businesses. Part of the industry-leading Avaya IP telephony portfolio, Avaya IP Office supports up to 360 extensions and offers a choice of communication protocols that help small- to mid-sized firms move to IP telephony at the pace they choose. It combines comprehensive voice and data applications normally reserved for large enterprises with easy-to-use tools that allow even the smallest businesses to deliver cutting-edge customer service.
  • Avaya Compact Contact Center for IP Office, which is a comprehensive customer contact application for up to 75 agents that supports voice calls, e-mail, Web chat and Web callback. It includes a full set of customizable capabilities for routing incoming calls and comprehensive management and reporting tools that managers can use to control costs, enhance the customer experience and get the most out of their contact center investment.
  • Microsoft CRM, which helps businesses develop profitable customer relationships through lead and opportunity management, incident management, a searchable knowledgebase, and reporting tools with Microsoft Business Solutions CRM modules. Built using Microsoft .NET-connected technologies, Microsoft CRM is easy to deploy, integrate, and customize.
  • The integrated solution was sold to Adams Keegan by Hutton Business Solutions, an authorized reseller for both Avaya and for Microsoft. Network design and testing were provided by Voda One, a pision of Westcon Group Inc., an Avaya distributor and global channel provider of networking technology products.

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