Unified communications (UC) vendor RingCentral has declared Avaya's financial woes as a "bellwether event" for the UC market as it looks to use the behemoth's struggles as a springboard for its own European expansion.
RingCentral was one of a number of vendors to prey on Avaya's Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing earlier this year, launching an aggressive marketing campaign targeting disillusioned Avaya customers.
In a letter sent to Avaya customers (below, click to enlarge) RingCentral claimed that Avaya had failed to evolve its on-premise solution to meet the needs of distributed workforces. "Only the new generation of cloud-based communications solutions can meet these needs," it claimed.
RingCentral was joined by the likes of ShoreTel in attacking Avaya, with ShoreTel CEO Don Joos saying that Avaya's "death spiral" was creating an opportunity for the UC challengers.
Now, speaking to CRN, RingCentral senior channel sales director Robinder Koura has claimed the marketing campaign has already proved fruitful, with both Avaya customers and partners jumping ship and signing up with RingCentral.
"There is no getting around what we consider a bellwether event in our industry," he said. "Avaya are a massive player, probably the second in terms of market share in this industry, next to Cisco. Having them declare bankruptcy [protection] is an unavoidably huge event and the key point is it's the shift for most people in understanding that the cloud is the way forward.
"The idea was to really show this shift and, to be honest, it's been the case that many more customers that we've touched are considering a cloud-based solution - and more infrastructure-based partners have been coming to us.
"Avaya had a great partner network - some strong players - and those partners were supporting big, significant customers. For example in the US Carousel, which is a massive Avaya partner, is one of the partners that has come to us and has already had significant success in generating business with us."
The scramble to poach Avaya customers has coincided with RingCentral's push into Europe. The vendor has had a presence in the UK for some time but recently launched its in-country expansion across 13 European countries - providing a local presence across the likes of France, Ireland, Italy Spain.
While RingCentral was rated as a leader in the most recent Gartner magic quadrant for UC, the market analyst pulled it up on its weak European presence.
Gartner placed RingCentral in the top-right corner of the quadrant with BT, West, Fuze and 8x8 - but said: "RingCentral is not yet widely available across Europe and Asia/Pacific. The European focus is on the UK, while the Asia/Pacific focus is on Singapore.
"RingCentral lacks strong brand awareness for businesses with more than 3,000 employees. As such larger businesses favour the large-branded vendors such as Cisco, Microsoft, Avaya and Google."
Addressing the Gartner report Koura said that, while previously the focus had been on multinational customers across Europe, RingCentral is now looking to address companies based in specific countries.
"We can do 80 countries routing traffic and 30-plus countries native service, so it's just a case of shifting to in-country specific solutions," he said.
"We've got a lot of business in Europe in terms of multinational companies, that's something we've had for a while, but what I think Gartner is highlighting is [for example] in France you have a French company that only has seats in France.
"Having more growth in that area is the focus we've made from a solution perspective and now also a go-to-market perspective."
In terms of the UK Koura said that RingCentral is looking to sign up as many partners as possible, but is particularly looking at Google Cloud partners.
RingCentral is one of only two global UC partners for Google's G-Suite, he explained, which he says should be a differentiator for partners looking to sign up a cloud-based provider.
He added that, while the likes of ShoreTel and Mitel have also been vocal in trying to steal business away from Avaya, the pure-play cloud vendors like Fuze and 8x8 are RingCentral's main competition in the UK.
"It's a big, crowded market in the UK," he said. "Our direct competition would be the likes of 8x8, Fuze, and also ShoreTel [and] Mitel.
"We're a pure-cloud player - we don't have a hybrid or on-premise infrastructure solution. We're born in the cloud and we have no on-premise infrastructure that we need to migrate.
"The traditional guys like Mitel and ShoreTel are coming from the more infrastructure base, but are also there."
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