Avaya topped the most recent vendor matrix list of unified communications vendors in a new analysis from ABI Research that focused on the company’s channel relationships as one of the criteria for ranking.

And Avaya’s efforts in terms of technology partnerships and channel training in part provided the boost that got the company to the top of the list.

“There has been real progress on the part of a number of vendors when it comes to offering compelling unified communications products,” says Vice President and Practice Director Stan Schatt in a statement.

“Avaya scored very high for its development of an ecosystem that includes key technology partners and a well-trained channel. Its detailed UC roadmap is encouraging because it suggests a continuing effort in this area.” Schatt also notes, “IBM and Siemens are examples of a new trend toward software-centric products that offer open architectures with support for virtually all major competitors’ products.”

IBM and Siemens Enterprise networks won the second and third spots in ABI Research’s evaluation of worldwide unified communications vendors. NEC America was fourth, and Cisco ranked fifth.

ABI Research says that vendors are assessed on parameters of innovation and implementation across several criteria.

Under innovation, ABI Research looked at the breadth and depth of the unified communications channel reached by each vendor, the characteristics of the unified communications mobility on offer, each vendor’s technology partners, the cost of products, the range and nature of professional services offered, and the range of the UC product portfolio.

Channel performance was given a 15 percent weight in ABI’s overall evaluation, and criteria included the number of resellers specializing in UC, the global reach of the vendor, the mix of distributors for SMBs and large enterprises, the strength of the service provider channel, UC certifications for channel partners, and relative UC knowledge of channel partners.

“Because UC is a complex set of technologies, a knowledgeable channel of resellers is critical,” ABI Research says in an introduction explaining its report. “Similarly key technology partners are essential, since no single UC vendor has all the necessary technology in-house.” 

Under the implementation ABI Research looked at UC solutions’ security features and their ratings; the UC architectures offered by each vendor; and their scalability and degree of interoperability. The firm also evaluated UC video and telepresence, UC messaging, and UC IP telephony.