Chris Norman has posted what should be regarded as the definitive blog post and discussion on Avaya ACE.  I’ve talked about this and CuciLync in user group discussions and I always advise against it.

I wanted to highlight a  couple of comments I made in the thread.  Joe Schurman from Avaya contends multiple times that companies cannot throw away their investments in their Avaya infrastructure and, not should, but *have to* use ACE, to which I respond:

“Let’s go back a few years to the 80s. Let’s trade “UC” for “PC”.

I have a large amount of expensive typewriters. Best of breed. I’m putting in new computers, but my typewriter company tells me instead of wasting money on buying keyboards, I should buy a special cable to connect my typewriter to my computer to protect my investment in Typewriters. But, the typewriter doesn’t have all the keys that a computer keyboard does, so I lose the ability to do everything I could with the computer.

This is the logic here.

Instead of putting the computer and typewriter side by side for those pesky triplicate forms and labels and stuff that there were no solutions or replacement for yet (and trim down the number of typewriters to only people who needed them for those tasks) – you go with the “better together” approach?

P.S. My typewriter company is working as hard as it can to get into the PC business. “

and

“First, I didn’t mean to make my analogy seem hardware centric. Only that the computer (Lync) can do many many things and well (IM/Presence/Voice/Video/Conferencing/Collaboration/Etc.) and the Typewriter (Avaya) could do one (Voice).

Even though you have dismissed it several times, one strategy of co-existence is SIP trunking, like putting the computer next to the typewriter. When you eliminate the need for the typewriter, you take it away. ROI in part comes from all of the additional features the computer gave you that you didn’t have before or paid for in other higher ways (plus not having to pay annual maintenance and upgrades on the typewriter when it’s gone).”

While Joe makes a very passionate plea to try to fully leverage your Avaya investment, what he completely disregards is fully leveraging your investment in Lync, which ACE kills as noted by Chris Norman:

“Greyed out icons adding to end user confusion

Escalation to a voice call requires the use of add on to the bottom of the window.

No escalation path to video or desktop sharing from the conversation window since Avaya recommended configuration is to only license STD Cal and they have been removed through policy settings.

You can only accept or decline an inbound call there is no way to redirect to another phone or voicemail

You cannot use Lync audio conferencing using ACE with Lync AVMUC. This experience is totally broken.

No conference controls when in an Avaya Audio conference from Lync with ACE

No contact card integration or broader Office integration for click to call, your limited to the ACE plugin for Outlook and what it offers.

No way to launch directly into a video or sharing session from right clicking the client.

No visual voicemail and no seamless integration into Exchange UM or even Avaya MM platform

No remote access capability

Scheduled conferencing, I saw no click to conference capability only very basic and rudimentary telephony capabilities so I do not understand where you think this advanced voice features are in the ACE integration to Lync.”

There is a point in an asset’s life where it has completely depreciated in value.  Then you look around, you find a replacement for that asset that provides 10x more functionality, is less expensive, and has a lower on-going costs.  If you instead decide to put more money into the depreciated asset, there is a technical name for that, it’s called “throwing good money after bad”.

Avaya Voice is not more magical than Lync Voice.  If there is some telephony feature as a business need, then keep those phones until there is a Lync solution.  However, Lync gives you far more features as a unified communications platform and it’s Voice features are suitable for most businesses.

My advice to everyone is this: SIP trunk the systems together.  It is possible through dial plan manipulation to give the Lync phone numbers the same as the desk phones – use access code plus the real number in the PBX to point to Lync, then you can forward the phone (or sim ring) to the Lync station (or the reverse, point everything to Lync and allow sim ring to the desk phone).  Downside -this doesn’t give you the “in a call” presence indication if you are talking on the PBX phone.  Then you can start eliminating legacy desk phones or replacing them with native Lync phones, until your down to the people who absolutely need them – like the last people who had a typewriter in the office.

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