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Q&A: Avaya’s Service Provider Chief, Joe Manuele, on Our Cloud Strategy, Momentum

Joe Manuele is Vice President of Global Service Providers, System Integrators, Alliances, and Cloud for Avaya. I spoke with Joe earlier this week about what’s the latest in Avaya’s cloud strategy, as well as about some major partnerships on the horizon.


To most businesspeople and even mainstream IT, cloud is still synonymous with the public cloud. In reality, however, there are many flavors of cloud. What should businesses be considering?

I was just at a meeting with a CIO where we discussed this very question. For unified communications, contact centers, and video, these are real-time services that businesses can’t afford to go down. So while our competitors will argue for ripping and replacing everything with a new public cloud infrastructure, Avaya wants to help transform our customers’ infrastructures. So it’s more of an evolution to cloud services, rather than a revolution, so that you can maintain reliability and trust, and without any disruption to their business.

For customers with 2,000 or more users, we recommend a private cloud with a managed service wrap as the first step. With this model, our customers have a foundation so that enterprise messaging applications, for example, that don’t require governance or use sensitive data, can be hosted in a public cloud. This way, you can start getting flexible, utility-based pricing with a managed service wrap. Meanwhile, your core either remains on-premises or hosted by Avaya Operations Service (AOS) in a non-shared manner. AOS already has 700 organizations representing two million communication ports using its services. This would be a hybrid cloud. Of course, whatever particular flavor of cloud that people want, Avaya can offer. Some companies may be happy to add 50 IP telephony users using Avaya or one of our partners via the public cloud. Meanwhile, a multinational firm with 20,000 employees and contact center agents will take a different approach.


types of cloud

Source: “The Guide to Cloud Collaboration: Three Clouds. A Million Possibilities for Businesses and Service Providers,” Avaya’s latest installment in its series of guidebooks for Enterprises and Service Providers, will be available in April.

Cloud shouldn’t be an ideology, but simply a tool for businesses. So, it’s really less about cloud, and more about business transformation, which is typically a five-year journey. If you want to learn more of my thoughts about this, check out my article, “Which Cloud is Right for You?” in the new  Avaya, The Guide to Cloud Collaboration for Enterprises and Service Providers.

How has Avaya’s cloud strategy evolved in response to these needs?

The first step in Avaya’s own journey was to virtualize as many of our apps as possible. Today, 95% of our applications are available as virtual machines. . Virtualizing our software enable enterprises to consolidate and collapse their infrastructure. We have customers that have shrunk from 30 data centers down to just two. Or take Forest City Enterprises, the billion-dollar mall operator based in Cleveland. They’ve gone from 150 physical servers to just 50, while upgrading and adding new applications. Coincidentally, this isn’t just about Avaya becoming a cloud provider, but really about Avaya’s successful transformation to a software and services company.

How are our cloud offerings different from our competitors?

There are some vendors who merely create these appliances and call it cloud. You still have to use their proprietary hardware and commit to a bunch of licenses upfront. You’re basically moving from a CapEx financial model to a lease. That’s all it is. Our software can run on any 3rd-party hardware. We aren’t just selling you a piece of software running on our own tin.

Secondly, we don’t just offer you creative financing – we deliver a truly-elastic, consumption-based model. For example, say you work at a government agency that normally has 500 employees throughout the year, except during tax season, when you need to add 200 contact center agents. During those three months, you can pay for those additional 200 users and then go back to 500 users the rest of the year. All on any hardware you want. This is true shared-risk approach.


Related: What is Avaya’s Aura Virtualization Roadmap?


Finally, there is no other company out there that has the product and feature breadth that Avaya does, whether you are talking on-premise or cloud-based. All of our on-premise software is virtualized, and on the path to becoming cloud-based service offers. And while some of our competitors can only offer IP telephony in the cloud, the Avaya Aura® platform covers unified communications as well as contact center applications with the same contact center control manager.

For IT, there’s zero difference in the training you need. If you know how to run Avaya IP Office on-premise, then you know how to do it in the cloud.

How is Avaya going to market with its cloud solutions?

Our strategy is to enable targeted global service providers to launch Avaya services in the cloud. We have some very big, respected names in the service provider industry – global providers and system integrators – who we are close to announcing as partners. We are also taking vertical solutions that we are being used by large customers today and extending them to commercial service providers. Stay tuned for announcements.

Besides the Avaya book mentioned above, how else can I learn more?

Talk to us at the Enterprise Connect show next week in Orlando! Avaya will have Booth 1005. For cloud solutions, visit the Avaya Cloud Marketplace inside our booth and meet our experienced team of cloud services professionals.

Eric Lai is the former Editorial Director at Avaya. He joined Avaya in Nov 2012 from SAP, where his enterprise mobility blog attracted more than 100,000 readers a month and was awarded Top Corporate Blog by BtoB Magazine. Prior to SAP, Eric was a technology editor and reporter for a decade and a half in Asia and the U.S. Follow him on Twitter @ericylai. more

Steve Regini
Steve Regini

I have to respectfully disagree. Avaya is not in this to replace what is already available in the market today. We are in the cloud space to fill the gaps, and here are two of the biggest ones:

First, from a greenfield perspective, neither Cisco nor Microsoft has a contact center solution that is proven and hailed in the industry. Avaya, by contrast, is #1 in the Contact Center market, with 30.5% market share, according to Gartner. Also, UC has been largely commoditized, which is why in cloud, Avaya is leading via contact-center solutions with UC complementing the offering. Moreover, Avaya offers Collaboration Environment as a platform for hosting providers and others to build applications. In the long term, this overall approach changes the model entirely by letting you go down market with the same platform/solution without forcing whole new niche architectures. And want to go upmarket and provide private cloud? Or, want to build compelling feature bundles which take CC applications and merge on UC if/as needed? And do it all in a utility model? Enter Avaya Aura Cloud Enablement, a better and more proven CC cloud solution to fill a true need in the market.

Secondly, you underestimate the pent-up demand from existing Avaya contact-center customers, partners and Business Process Outsourcers (BPOs) who want a migration path. Avaya has 53% of the US contact center market, 38 points higher than #2 Cisco, according to T3i Group. This is the hole we'll fill, flexibly, since our customers will be able to easily grow/shrink with a truly integrated end-to-end CC proposition from the cloud. Or they will be able to take hybrid applications from the cloud, to reduce deployment risks. Nearly all of Avaya’s solutions can run either on-premise or hosted and on the same platform. This gives our customers the widest choice possible and encourages them to preserve their experience as they migrate.

Avaya is striving constantly to improve how we work with our valued partners. Visit our Avaya Connect and DevConnect portals to learn more. As for the competition between partner and direct, every enterprise vendor faces the same issue. The key is incentivizing the sales teams to sell both, and not force that conflict. And this is exactly what Avaya is doing.

Steve Regini

Global Sales Engineering Lead for SP/SI and Cloud, Avaya

SI  Sales Leader
SI Sales Leader

Avaya GTM strategy will prove difficult.  The global services providers have been positioning Cisco and Microsoft solutions for several years target at replacing Avaya enterprise based solutions.  They have spent significant money standing up the Cisco HCS / Microsoft 365 - Lync services in their data centers and build delivery and support models.  The SP's might stand up Avaya to convert some existing Avaya enterprise customers to a more utility base model but, they will have little or no focus on new logo pursuits.  Plus, Avaya is notoriously hard to work with from a partner perspective combined with being late to market. This strategy will also set up internal competition with their direct sales force and reduce Avaya's primary revenue stream related to maintenance on enterprise solutions  Bottom line is Avaya will still struggle with growth in the market.