Tech Data calls time on Avaya telephony

Distributor Tech Data’s regional operation has ditched its Avaya telephone system and replaced it with a Cisco internet protocol (IP) call centre solution.

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By  Diana Milne Published  December 18, 2005

Distributor Tech Data’s regional operation has ditched its Avaya telephone system and replaced it with a Cisco internet protocol (IP) call centre solution. The Dubai-based call centre, which handles all the firms’s Middle East business, is now based on a Cisco Converged IP Communications solution. This replaces the traditional PABX Avaya telephone system, which was based on a Nortel platform and which the company said had reached ‘maximum capacity’. “We have been looking to change our telephone system for a while,” revealed Adnan Al Falah, managing director of Tech Data UAE. “It had reached maximum capacity and having reached that point we decided to take a fresh look at the technology,” he said. Roger El-Tawil, channel marketing manager for Avaya MENA, pointed out that Tech Data also has an existing relationship with Cisco, as one of the networking firm’s largest distributors in the region. Al Falah said the decision to replace Avaya’s telephone system with Cisco’s solution —which was deployed by Networkers, a Cisco partner — was made “from a technology pedigree point of view.” “They [Avaya] did have an IP solution as part of the offering but it was a hybrid solution,” Al Falah said. “I’m buying networking technology and I wanted to buy something from a company that had a vested interest in making sure that technology was a success,” he stated. “We felt it (Cisco) had a great deal more technology know- how against other vendors,” he added. Al Falah said another reason for Tech Data’s decision was that its network infrastructure is provided by Cisco. “Having the whole infrastructure based on a single platform is a significant advantage,” he said. For Cisco the deal represents a major success in its drive to attract customers in the small and medium-sized business (SMB) sector in the region. Although it has sold a number of network infrastructure solutions to SMBs in the region, this is its largest call centre solution deal in that sector. “This is a very strategic deal for us because of the scale of it,” said Wayne Hull, regional sales manager, Cisco Systems, Gulf and Pakistan. “When a customer of this scale — from an SMB point of view — decides to go for IP call centre, that’s a very exciting situation for us,” Hull claimed. “We’ve done smaller call centres but this is the first outbo- und call centre of its kind in the Middle East,” he added. Cisco is hoping that the deal will prompt other SMBs in the Middle East to purchase IP telephony and IP call centre solutions from Cisco. “In the last six months we’ve seen significant market take up in voice technology for SMBs,” Hull said. “If you look at the global announcements that Cisco is making you will see that SMBs are a fundamental part of our strategy,” he noted. “As one of the largest Cisco distributors it does seem a natural choice for Tech Data to roll out a Cisco system,” commented Avaya’s El-Tawil. “Similarly, our largest distributor in the region — Almasa —is an Avaya customer,” he added. The Cisco equipment deployed at Tech Data includes call management software, switches and routers, and security products. Cisco’s IP Communications system will allow Tech Data to migrate its voice, video and data traffic onto a single, fully-converged network, eliminating the need for separate voice and data infrastructures. This will help to improve the productivity of the network and minimise network administration tasks, such as network adds, moves or changes. It will also streamline application integration and will require less cabling as the network grows.

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