Avaya, SAP partner to deliver integrated applications

Supply chain solution will transmit shipping news to relevant managers

Delivering on a promise made last spring, Avaya unveiled today the first in a series of integrated communications and business applications in partnership with SAP.

The deal with SAP will connect Avaya alerting, messaging and conferencing IP telephony capabilities with mySAP CRM applications.

The integrated system will give customer service agents the ability to work with a customer using voice, e-mail and Web communications through the mySAP CRM console.

The plug-in for mySAP CRM is expected to ship in the second quarter of 2006.

One industry analyst, Josh Greenbaum, principal at Enterprise Applications Consulting, expressed surprise at the reason for the announcement.

"This is old stuff. Having call center systems talking to enterprise CRM products has been a fundamental requirement for a number of years," said Greenbaum.

In fact, SAP and Avaya made a similar announcement back in 2000, Greenbaum added.

However, in the second half of 2006, a second application that will link SAP Enterprise Resource Planning with Avaya's IP telephony technology for supply chain applications is more significant, according to the analyst.

For example, the supply chain solution that combines the SAP solution with Avaya's Web service will send an alert to a supply chain manager that an order may not ship on schedule. The communications portion of the application would then link together various interested parties through an appropriate channel such as telephony, audio or video conferencing, IM, voice message or e-mail. All parties would also be alerted when the issue was resolved.

"This will let companies react in real time in order to build the work flows they need to insure that the remediation gets done efficiently," said Greenbaum.

The stage for the deal with SAP and, presumably, other enterprise vendors was created last year when Avaya transformed all of its PBX technology to open standards, said Kevin Crawford, an executive briefer at Avaya.