Avaya is a unified communications system that can serve thousands of employees and includes a wide array of calling, collaboration and mobile tools. Avaya offers several different platforms, which allow flexibility in hosting – on-premises or cloud – and service plans. The system's service plans allow businesses to designate which employees can access which features. The platforms can support multiple locations, and you can easily tack contact center services on to the service.
View all our recommendations for business phone systems on our best picks page.
Unlike many phone systems that are sold directly by the phone system provider, Avaya works with local resellers to sell and install the systems. This means that pricing will likely vary based on the reseller you work with.
The local reseller we spoke with quoted us prices for 80 users on Avaya's IP Office on-premises phone system. The phone system itself would cost about $45,000, which is about $550 per user. This reseller also offers the option to lease the system for five years. Instead of paying the $45,000 upfront, organizations have the option of paying $900 a month on a 60-month lease. Voicemail is included in these costs; however, a robust reporting system would cost an additional $5,000, or $100 a month for 60 months. Call center services were an estimated $1,200 per user.
Another cost to consider with the on-premises system is PRI circuits, which the reseller told us would cost $500 to $1,000 a month. Other costs include data switches and internal wiring, which were estimated at a one-time cost of about $42,000. Some of the wiring costs may not be necessary, depending on what type of wiring your office already has.
The cloud-hosted system cost $25 to $30 per user per month. That included 1,200 calling minutes per station. Call center services cost an additional $36 per month per user. However, there is an additional $400 charge per station for phones and installation. These prices were based on a 36-month contract.
Since we obtained these quotes from a reseller in our area, the costs for the system and any required contracts for your business would be different. Knowing that Avaya offers such a wide range of system options, we would encourage all businesses to contact Avaya, or a local reseller, early on in their research process to get specific pricing for their needs.
Ease of Use
Avaya offers a robust VoIP phone system that can be configured specifically for each business. The system we looked at was the Office IP platform. This system is designed for businesses with up to 3,000 users and can be deployed as an on-premises or cloud-hosted solution.
Both options have the same functionality; however, with the on-premises system, your IT staff is responsible for maintaining it and making any upgrades when necessary. With the cloud-hosted system, Avaya handles all maintenance and upgrades.
Avaya offers several different editions within the IP Office platform. The Basic edition can support up to 100 users. It includes basic telephone and messaging services, including voicemail, voicemail-to-email, call forwarding, audio conferencing, and an automated attendant.
The Essential edition includes everything in the Basic edition, plus IP telephony and mobility features, one-number access, and the ability to dial by name or extension. It serves up to 350 users.
The Preferred edition has everything in the Essential edition, as well as instant messaging, presence, web collaboration, mobile access, and video and call recording. It also offers a variety of integrations and includes contact center services. It supports up to 1,000 users.
The Server edition supports up to 2,000 users. It includes advanced features, such as active directory integration and web-based administration.
The Select edition supports 3,000 users. It offers a duplex server option and over 500 ports for audio and video conferencing.
Businesses that have more employees than the Office IP platform supports can deploy Avaya's Aura platform. This platform can serve up to 250,000 workers, including 2,500 on a single server.
For businesses operating multiple offices or stores, the IP Office platform can expand to work in 150 different locations. Businesses can manage each location from a single browser-based interface. In addition, businesses using IP phones can automatically switch their service to one of the other locations should their office lose power.
The entire system is managed in an online portal. From the web manager, administrators can edit users, read details of incoming and outgoing calls, view changes to the system and who made them, review system performance notifications, set security restrictions, and view analytics.
Overall, Avaya's business phone systems offer more features and tools than most of its competitors. In total, the system is available in five editions – Basic, Essential, Preferred, Server and Select – that differ in the number of included features. Avaya offers more than 600 features and tools altogether.
Calling features include automated attendants, caller ID, automatic callback, the ability to put calls on hold, message-waiting indicators, multilingual automation capabilities, hold music, the option to transfer calls and toggle between multiple calls at one time, park and page, and voicemail-to-email.
The Avaya Communicator allows employees to use their mobile devices or computers to talk on their business lines, make video calls, and message their co-workers. A presence feature indicates who is online and available for a meeting.
In addition to its regular phone system features, the Avaya contact center module offers features and tools for businesses with a call center. Among them are the ability for customers to connect with businesses over phone, email and web chat. It also has skills-based call routing, interactive voice recordings, call recording, integrations with customer relationship management software, and real-time and historical reports. The contact center services also let businesses make telemarketing and outbound campaign calls.
Avaya has a complete conference calling service built into its phone system. With the conference bridge feature, which is included for no extra charge, each employee can hold their own conference call with up to 64 callers. However, higher plans may allow an unlimited number of participants.
If your company is looking to host conference calls with more callers than your Avaya plan provides for, you will need to use a conference calling service. These services allow for hundreds, sometimes thousands of callers on each call. You can find more information on these services on our conference call services best picks page.
Avaya's customer support is a little hit or miss. To test the support, we contacted the company multiple times by phone, email and live chat, posing as a business owner interested in phone systems.
Each time we called, an Avaya representative took down our contact info and gathered some details about our business. However, since they work with local resellers, they indicated that they would pass along our information to someone in our area who could provide more details about the system and its cost.
On several occasions, we were contacted within a couple of days by extremely helpful local resellers. They asked us about our needs and explained our options. They talked about the differences between the on-premises and cloud-hosted systems, and the features and prices of each. They also answered all our questions about the system.
These local resellers always followed up with an email that included more detailed information on pricing. Each time we emailed them back with a follow-up question, they responded promptly with answers.
However, we also had some negative experiences. There were a couple of times when Avaya took down our information and said a local reseller would get back to us, but no one did. We had to follow up several times by email and live chat before we finally got someone to get back to us, weeks after the fact. It is frustrating to jump through hoops just to get more information about the system.
In all, the positive interactions outweighed the negative ones in our eyes. However, your best bet may be to work with the local reseller who installs your system, who may be able to give you more prompt attention.
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