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6/29/2010
01:44 PM
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HP's Confusing UC Strategy

HP continued to widen the circle of UC options. The company signed a three year deal so it will now be offering Avaya's broad portfolio of products, but questions remain about the viability of such agreements in the highly volatile UC marketplace.

HP continued to widen the circle of UC options. The company signed a three year deal so it will now be offering Avaya's broad portfolio of products, but questions remain about the viability of such agreements in the highly volatile UC marketplace.HP's service team can now sell Avaya's Unified Communications products and applications; Avaya Contact Center applications; and Avaya's end-user software and endpoints. Businesses that do not want to run their own UC infrastructure can opt for an HP managed UC service. In addition, the two companies have tested their products and certified them as being compatible.

UC is a hot area now as companies are trying to consolidate their data, voice, and video traffic. Avaya has been a leader in the voice market and been trying to wedge its way into the collaboration space. Its recent acquisition of Nortel meant it is now the Voice over IP (VoIP) market leader.

HP sells a lot of the underlying hardware and network equipment used for UC applications but has not traditionally shied away from developing its own solution. Instead, the vendor has signed a series of reselling agreements. In addition to working with Avaya, HP has a 10 year agreement with Alcatel-Lucent and a joint development agreement with Microsoft.

How well HP's strategy will work is unclear. While the vendor may see clear delimeters among the different agreements, its partners do not and are all moving in the same direction. In addition, HP acquired VoIP solutions as part of its 3Com purchase and what it will do with that piece is unclear. However, it seems likely that sooner or later HP may want to focus on its own UC solution rather than rely on partners.

Consequently, the various reselling agreements may confusion rather than comfort small and medium businesses trying to make UC purchasing decisions right now. They see a market possibly poised for signficant turbulence and would like to protect themselves against product obsolescence. While it is clear that HP will be a viable alternative in a few years, it is not certain which vendor(s)' products the company will be promoting.

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