Avaya to open office in New Zealand

A local office should have been set up long ago, says MD

Lucent spin-off Avaya, the world’s largest internet protocol telephony provider, plans to open a New Zealand office in the next few months, says the company’s Asia-South Pacific managing director, Carlton Taya.

Taya spoke to Computerworld at the annual Avaya Connect customer meeting, which was held in Sydney recently, about the company’s plans for New Zealand. Taya indicated that a local office was something that should have been set up long ago, so as to better service local enterprise and government customers. Vodafone New Zealand is one such enterprise customer here that resells Avaya services, says Taya.

Avaya competes with telecommunications giants Cisco, Nortel and Alcatel in the Asia-Pacific. In New Zealand, Telecom represents Cisco and Nortel, and also enjoys an active technology partnership with Alcatel, for its fixed-network services.

Taya says Avaya has been in talks with Telecom for the past 11 months. He admits that getting traction in the New Zealand market without a presence with the dominant incumbent monopoly will be difficult and will take two to three years to accomplish.

Worldwide, Avaya claims to be the leader in the enterprise telephony market, with just over 20% of revenues worldwide, or US$1.24 billion (NZ$1.97 billion) in total. Taya says Avaya’s New Zealand market share currently stands at around 10% to 12%.

In New Zealand, Avaya is currently represented by Agile. Tony Jayne, general manager of Agile New Zealand, isn’t concerned about Avaya setting up in the country, however.

In fact, Jayne says, Agile has been working with Avaya for the past year to find a person with the right credentials who can establish a presence in New Zealand for the telco provider.

Jayne believes that Avaya opening an office in the country is a positive move and one that will make its partnership with Agile more effective. Currently, Avaya holds a 23% stake in Agile Software.

Meanwhile, one of Australia’s largest Avaya integrators, Touchbase Australia, has parted ways with the communications vendor as a result of a contract dispute.

Touchbase’s managing director, Magnus Maynard, says he received a letter of termination from Avaya on February 28. It was granted an extension, to finish work it had already started, but is now no longer an Avaya business partner.

“There were a few things within the new contract Avaya asked us to sign that precluded us from providing services to our client base,” he says.

“We wanted to change it, but [instead] received a letter of termination.” The companies had been in partnership for five years.

Saarinen travelled to Sydney courtesy of Avaya.

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