Avaya is targeting its new Contact Center Express software specifically at medium-sized businesses, many of which are yet to embrace call centre applications due to their previously high costs and complexity, according to analysts and resellers.
Mike Danson, managing director of Touchbase UK, an Avaya channel partner of nine years, said resellers have been banging on Avaya's door requesting a call centre solution customised for the mid-market for a long time.
"This is borne out of the Avaya Interaction Center, which is a corporate-oriented product. My understanding is that Contact Center Express is far easier for customers to install and set up themselves, while there is still the option [for resellers] to bespoke it," Danson said.
John van der Linde, director of converged applications at Avaya in the UK, confirmed that most customers would provide their own support for Contact Center Express. He added that the software can use firms' existing network kit through simple connections to the switch and server.
"This means that firms are already two-thirds of the way down the line [for equipment costs], and the only cost is licensing the actual agents to the desktop, which is priced at roughly $1,500 per seat," he said.
Alex Kwiatkowski, consultant group manager at analyst Ovum, believes Contact Center Express will appeal to firms that employ about 20 to 30 call centre agents, helpdesk or customer service staff, although the business itself could be much larger.
"These are new entrants which perhaps existed with a simple key telephone system and basic services. Or they are large firms looking to support a specific line of business, whether a product, brand or campaign, through a dedicated contact centre," he said.
Other channel partners include Azzurri, Call Centre Technology, Central Telecom, Redphone and Xpert Systems, with Crane handling the distribution. Alcatel, Siemens, Genesys and Concerto also offer contact centre applications tailored for medium-sized businesses.
Kwiatkowski acknowledges this is a competitive market but does not believe it has reached a point where it is difficult for vendors to sell larger enterprises anything other than upgrades to the solutions already installed.
"Vendors are looking at where else they can leverage the investment made in existing solutions, and the mid-market is ideal," he said.
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