Dissecting the Avaya-Zoom Partnership Announcement: Has RingCentral Walked Away?

Dissecting the Avaya-Zoom Partnership Announcement: Has RingCentral Walked Away?

“No single technology provider offers all the applications an organization needs to deliver solutions across its business. Partnerships are essential.”

That’s what Avaya says in its Avaya Alliances document, and it’s absolutely right: No organization (not even Microsoft) can possibly deliver every piece of technology an MSP could need, so there’s always good reason to integrate new solutions. But Avaya’s partnerships are more perplexing than most. Instead of integrating solutions that are adjacent to its offerings, it’s created strategic partnerships with a whole host of actual competitors.

It’s the latest one, the announcement of its partnership with Zoom, that is causing some shockwaves through the industry. So what’s going on?

Integrations Make Sense

Let’s talk about integrations, first. Integrations make absolute sense in the world of business. You can pair Wildix with a lot of different solutions for a fully flexible workspace. A few examples are:

  • PromptVoice (adding in AI‑powered messaging)
  • Datto Autotask (Real-time operations management)
  • Genesys (Call center management)
  • Dubber (Capture, recording and analysis of calls)
  • Salesforce (CRM system for lead management and sales)

You can check out our integrations page for even more info about the types of integrations we offer.

So we definitely understand the importance of allowing other systems to access the Blue Ecosystem and making everything work with each other. We even offer integrations for MS Teams (teams4Wildix) because it can sometimes make sense for organizations to keep using the interfaces they’re used to and gradually layer on Wildix products. As an MSP, it pays to have flexibility in being able to work with different products.

That’s why we also offer open APIs and TAPI. Simply put, if a customer wants an integration, Wildix is the platform that gives MSPs the most flexibility.

But we’ve deviated from the topic a bit. Integrations are not partnerships. Wildix does not have a strategic partnership with Microsoft, for example, certainly not for Teams. So let’s look at how partnerships are formed.

Strategic Partnerships: Why Do Companies Have Them?

Avaya has official strategic partnerships with these companies, per its Avaya Alliances page:

  • Google
  • Microsoft
  • Verint
  • Zoom

Two of these make perfect sense: Google and Microsoft are two of the biggest cloud server operators in the world (Wildix uses AWS, the biggest with approximately 33% of the market — they are a core strategic partner).

So these two partners are offering key services for Avaya — services that Avaya cannot work without. They allow a certain amount of flexibility for its services, allowing the company to deliver solutions worldwide.

Then there’s Verint and Zoom.

Verint offers to elevate customer experience automation, making it easier to deliver new customer engagement opportunities. For Avaya, it’s easy to see how this could be a great partnership, especially if it can deliver a seamless integration experience for MSPs. So that makes some sense.

The recent Zoom announcement just doesn’t make sense — unless Avaya’s partnership with RingCentral has stalled.

The RingCentral partnership was originally announced in 2019, where Avaya stated that RingCentral was an “exclusive” service that essentially brought UCaaS to its platform. While there were many legitimate criticisms of this deal, it did fill a gap in Avaya’s offerings. This was reinforced by Avaya and RingCentral’s announcement in 2023 that the partnership would continue, with minimum seat numbers and a few other conditions.

Avaya also appears to have dropped RingCentral from its Avaya Alliances page in January 2024, and it removed Alcatel-Lucent in March. It also removed Salesforce and Nuance (voice analysis, transcription and chat) sometime in early 2024. Removing them puts it at odds with RingCentral’s own statements, which as recently as February 2024, were calling Avaya a strategic partner.

It appears that Avaya and RingCentral, then, may have parted ways.

So Why Did Avaya Choose Zoom?

It’s no secret that Zoom has had its share of issues. The company admitted in 2023 that it had “made mistakes,” which ultimately resulted in it firing 15% of its staff and its president. Having said that, the company made an impressive turnaround during 2023, shoring up its turnover and creating new products that address actual needs in the market. Revenues are up marginally from 2023, with year-on-year revenue up 2.56% and net year-on-year income up by 387.2%.

So the two companies share some major similarities: both have had problems, although Avaya’s were considerably larger with its Chapter 11 filing. And both companies are seeking new userbases and to shore up their weaknesses.

Zoom is weak in the on-prem market — even though on-prem is shrinking heavily, it’ll never go away for many enterprise companies. And Avaya doesn’t have a viable cloud system that’s competitive.

Yet exactly could be said for RingCentral and Avaya.

The problem with RingCentral may be that its expectations for its partnership with Avaya were not met, so a partnership with Avaya doesn’t make sense anymore. It could be exiting the agreement under some sort of cancellation clause in the contract, triggered through the lack of expected revenues, leads or seats. There may have also been issues with releasing the proprietary integrations promised in the 2023 announcement.

Zoom, sensing an opportunity, stepped in to fill the gap, reasoning that it would help with brand awareness, improve its opportunities to access MSP networks and become the default cloud provider of choice for thousands of Avaya-focused MSPs.

This is conjecture, admittedly. But they are the sorts of considerations that C‑suite executives make.

What Does the Avaya-Zoom Announcement Mean for Avaya MSPs?

For those who offer Avaya products, it’s yet another pivot and another complication. While Avaya Cloud Office powered by RingCentral is still available as of the time of writing, it’s not clear whether it will continue to be available in the near future.

The roadmap for the Zoom rollout is also not entirely clear: Avaya states that the new “experience” will roll out in the coming months.

The other problem is how stable will this partnership be. Avaya has flitted between partnerships for the past few years, adding them and dropping them. The RingCentral one was the most stable one, outside its Microsoft and Google ones (which are essential to running the platform). And even that has appeared to have ended. So is there still going to be a Zoom-Avaya partnership in 12 months? There’s no multi-year contract announced, and it’s not clear if either company has made any additional investment in the other.

Worse, both sides are going to have to expend considerable development time to make their solutions work with each other. This could disrupt innovation heavily, and Avaya is already struggling heavily on that front.

So even though Avaya promises “innovation without disruption,” it doesn’t appear to provide this benefit to its MSPs. While it’s good to keep moving forward in the world of tech, Avaya bounces from one partner to another without any long-term strategy. The company is gradually losing relevance, unfortunately, and this is just another brick in the wall. For Avaya MSPs, our advice is simple: Jump to Wildix and migrate as many customers to it as you can.

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