Avaya and IBM have launched a co-ordinated sales and marketing programme on unified comms and have agreed to conduct technical development together.

While the companies have joined forces in the past, it was on a case-by-case basis and had to be pushed by customers, according to Avaya.

"There was no formality; it was very much ad hoc," says Todd Abbott, senior vice president and president of Avaya Field Services.

The new alliance comes after Avaya spent six months making consistent the incentives it gives to its channel partners and adjusting them so they don't conflict with IBM channel efforts, said Abbott.

The companies are lining up behind Avaya's unified communications server Aura Session Manager, which can link multi-vendor PBXs and other communications gear to create cohesive corporate voice/data networks. They are also working on joint technical development of interoperability between existing products, added Abbott.

Avaya and IBM are cross training in each other's products in order to create coordinated marketing programs. The companies will also conduct joint seminars, said Abbott.