Avaya’s Cloud Strategy Meeting Buyer Needs with a Robust Ecosystem of Partners

Now, more than ever, it seems the cloud is baked into every conversation we have with customers and partners. Analysts estimate that 1 in 3 servers, switches and storage arrays are being sold into public and private clouds today. Last year, $16.5 billion was spent on cloud infrastructure in the U.S.

The trend is clear—on-premise communications solutions like PBXs and email have stagnated, while cloud-based unified communication is growing 20 percent year-over year. Similarly, the demand for contact center-as-a-service is on the rise.

Avaya has invested heavily in this space, developing and delivering cloud solutions that solve our customers’ pain points.

Not every customer wants the same cloud solution—public versus private, infrastructure versus applications, team engagement versus customer engagement, multi-tenant versus multi-instance, etc. Avaya has adopted a strategy leveraging shared investment in cloud capabilities across the broad market.

We offer Avaya-branded solutions (such as AvayaLive Video) directly to the market, Avaya-powered solutions (like unified communications-as-a-service and contact center-as-a-service offered by BT Wholesale) through business partners, and professional services and platforms (like Avaya Private Cloud Services and Avaya Collaboration Pods) to help businesses drive their own cloud strategy.

Using core technologies like Avaya Aura and Avaya Scopia, and working with partners like VMWare and HP, Avaya is creating platforms that deliver engagement solutions on cutting-edge cloud platforms.

Avaya has worked in the labs and on the road with leading companies in the cloud ecosystem, recruiting strategic partners to bring cloud solutions to market. We have partnered with:

  • Google to offer customer engagement solutions for remote agents (Avaya Agent for Chrome) and cloud-based contact center infrastructure (Customer Engagement OnAvaya Powered by Google Cloud).
  • HP is enhancing its existing cloud business by delivering a combined portfolio of Unified Communications-as-a-Service and Contact Center-as-a-Service to deliver private cloud solutions to enterprise customers. In addition, we are leveraging HP servers within Avaya’s Collaboration Pods to host private cloud solutions and migrating HP’s internal customer engagement solutions to a CPOD infrastructure built with OnAvaya.
  • VMWare to offer VCloud Air services to host engagement solutions in their public cloud.
  • Salesforce.com to integrate our customer engagement solutions with SFDC customer relationship and sales force automation management.

We’ve worked with these partners to develop joint sales and go-to-market programs to identify market segments with the greatest need for our cloud solutions, working to enable our combined set of channels, and business partners to learn the skills and business processes necessary to deliver high value cloud-based solutions.

Our solutions that deliver engagement-as-a-service are delivered to market via an ecosystem of business partners.

Service providers like BT, Verizon and Windstream are building OnAvaya cloud solutions and bundling them with network access, while systems integrators and distributors like Dimension Data, Synnex and Catalyst are integrating engagement capabilities into business applications and processes.

Both paths to market have direct impact on our customers’ success. OnAvaya solution adoption has led to higher revenues and customer satisfaction and reduced costs and cycle times. For example, when Dimension Data delivered contact center-as-a-service solutions to their clients in the financial services sector in the UK, they quickly found that CSAT, Net Promoter, and other objective measures of customer satisfaction improved.

When RealPage implemented a virtualized private cloud solution to meet their communications requirements, they saw a 30 percent reduction in equipment and maintenance costs–with no downtime and no dropped calls.

“It’s hard for me to believe, being a dyed-in-the-wool, committed-to-stability dial tone guy, but it’s more than adequate enough,” said Joe McCorkle, RealPage Director of IT for Voice and UC Services, summing up his experience with OnAvaya’s virtualized private cloud UCaaS.

How can Avaya help your company achieve better business outcomes with the cloud? Visit our cloud solutions page for more.

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6 Benefits of Cloud-Based Video Conferencing

“Savvy corporations will collaborate with the empowered people. Savvy corporations that want to benefit from [the sharing economy] … will collaborate with these empowered people, and, in return, create resiliency within their corporation. Make no doubt about it, this is a business opportunity. But if ignored, this is a threat that could unravel corporations. What it means: Corporations who want to be resilient know the crowd becomes part of their company.” – Jeremiah Owyang

People often ask me why they would want or need a cloud-based video conferencing solution. Why is it better than a premise-based solution? My answer is invariably, “’Better’ is the wrong way to think about it.”

The question really is, “Does a cloud-based solution fit your business model and needs?”

If companies are going to engage with the crowd, as Jeremiah Owyang suggests above, then the implication is clear–they need a publicly-available platform on which to collaborate, so that they can seamlessly engage the cloud. If this is a clear part of your strategy, the rest of the reasons don’t matter. You need to get on the cloud before your competitors do, so quit reading and go call your Avaya reseller now.

If you are not sure you are going to engage the crowd and participate in the sharing economy in the near term, then here are five things that indicate a cloud-based video conferencing solution may suit your business:

  1. You don’t have the skills to maintain the solutions: I completed a consulting engagement with a large government organization once–they had a premise-based solution they had bought three years (or more, no one was positive) before and were looking to determine why utilization was so low. The unequivocal answer? No one had ever learned to configure the multimillion dollar MCU, and so the service wasn’t actually working! If this even remotely reminds you of your organization, the cloud is for you.
  2. You experience significant demand seasonality: The classic example is tax return preparation firms–a vast majority of their business is in the springtime, with very low activity levels through the rest of the year. To build capacity to support seasonal peak loads would require a significant investment, making video communications with clients prohibitively expensive. Significant demand variability is another key driver of the business value of cloud solutions.
  3. You are an early adopter of new capabilities: Some companies have a culture of always pushing the limits of their technology. Technology vendors consider these types of companies great beta candidates, because they have an innate desire to try new things, are anxious to make suggestions, and insert technology solutions into daily processes. If a supplier has ever said to you, “You were the best beta customer, we really appreciate your feedback and ideas for product enhancements” then the cloud may make you happy. Why? Because cloud solutions typically have faster update/refresh cycles and deliver new capabilities to all users automatically. AvayaLive Video already offers great collaboration and desktop sharing capabilities, and more features are rolling out regularly.
  4. You are opening a new office or division: For companies opening a new branch office, moving to a new geography, or launching a new division, the cloud allows them to avoid the consequences of the “build it and they will come” business trap. One of our clients was completing a merger and needed to enable communications between the two legacy organizations quickly. AvayaLive Video was up and running, connecting individuals from opposite sides of the merger within days of making the decision to use it.
  5. You are unwilling to bet on the technology: Video conferencing is a technically dense field–H235 or H.234 SVC? SIP or H.323? 4:3 or 13:9 aspect ratio? Dynamic or static addressing for ports for NAT and firewall traversal? With the market moving so rapidly, some companies lose their appetite to invest and would rather pay someone else to take the technology risk. This is the classic “stick to your knitting” management philosophy taught in MBA schools. There is no shortage of things to learn and master; why not concentrate management attention on those things that will differentiate your business, and not on the care and maintenance of constantly-changing technology infrastructure.
  6. Your company believes work is something you do, not someplace you go. For companies that have many locations, engage deeply with customers and suppliers, and have a lot of mobile workers (not just road warriors, but coffee shop workers, corridor warriors, and teleworkers as well) cloud-based video makes sense for two reasons. First, bringing all those streams back into your data center on your network to your MCU can get complicated and expensive in a hurry! When it’s in the cloud, your service provider can leverage economies of scale for you. Second, a cloud-based solution is designed from the ground up to connect Web-based endpoints, whether tablets, PCs, or dedicated rooms, assuring a more engaging and useful collaboration experience.

There are some businesses where the nature of their communications, or the content of those conversations, may make it appropriate for them to install an on-premise solution. However, for most of the market, we at Avaya believe that cloud will be the architecture of choice. The deployed volume of cloud-based unified communications and collaboration seats is likely to double over the next four years. Will some of those seats be yours?

To evaluate AvayaLive Video today, visit www.avayalive.com/video and start your free 30-day trial.

The Top 3 Advantages of Video Communications in Today's Workplace

It’s often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. After joining Avaya and hiring a dozen people to work for me around the world, I would argue that a video is worth a million in the workplace.

According to a research report by Transparency Market Research, the video conferencing market is expected to reach $6.4 billion by 2020, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 9.4 percent. It’s no wonder the market is expanding. Communicating with co-workers via video offers three major advantages:

#3: Authentic Engagement

I’ve worked in the communications industry for more than 25 years with people in offices across North America and around the world. Although telephony and e-mail started out as the preferred way to communicate, instant messaging became more common and convenient over time.

However, all three forms of communications–while often the best alternative to face-to-face interaction–do not provide a natural experience. People can sound distant and cold on the phone or in an e-mail. Even a conversation with a high-energy person can oscillate between energetic vocal stimulation and silence. With video communications, everything changes. The ability to see one another allows participants to have a conversation that feels more authentic.

#2 It’s Easy to Use

In the past, participating in a video conference involved scheduling the event days ahead of time and going to a specially-equipped room at the appointed hour. After spending several minutes entering crazy codes, participants would finally see a room full of people on the screen, often experiencing questionable video quality. Going through that exercise for just one person was virtually unheard of.

Today, with the video experience moving to individual consumers, whether via smartphones or laptop computers using Facebook, Skype or Google+, one-on-one hangouts have become commonplace. And they can all be done with the click of a button. The video quality on a consumer video call may only be satisfactory, but simplicity always wins over functionality. People will tolerate imperfect video quality if it is easy to use.

This is exactly what is happening in the workplace. Establishing a video session in the office is as simple as clicking on a link in a calendar meeting. That same meeting can be held on the smartphone or tablet, and the image quality is remarkable. The complexity of the past has been replaced by the simplicity of the present.

#1 The Ability to Read Non-Verbal Cues

The most important advantage of video communications in business discussions is the ability to pick up on non-verbal communications. Facial expressions can be read. Smiles can be seen. Eyes looking with disbelief are apparent. Talking to someone face to face via video allows participants to react to one another’s body language, vocal patterns and many other subconscious cues they likely are not even aware of.

After using video for 6 months with a team of people in 9 different time zones, I have completely changed the way I work. The phone looks so cold, and voices on the speakerphone seem so distant. I never would have believed it, but I now wonder how I ever worked without video communications before.

Let me know about your experiences with video communications in today’s workplace.

AvayaLive™ Video Delivers VCaaS Collaboration When and Where You Need It

To bring your communications strategy into the 21st century, take video conferencing to the cloud. But before you hop on a spaceship, zoom in on AvayaLive™ Video, the company’s first-ever Video Conferencing as a Service (VCaaS) offer.

AvayaLive Video is based on years of feedback from customers who value our on-premise video solution, the award-winning Scopia® video. Customers were hungry for an Avaya VCaaS offer that had an eye turned toward the future of cloud-based collaboration.

According to Wainhouse Research, businesses globally are turning more to video to reduce the time, cost and complexity of business travel.

Digital natives–people born after 1975–make up about half the global workforce, and are twice as likely to use new technologies or systems to communicate and collaborate while at work. Analysts at Wainhouse recommend implementing Video as a Service as a straightforward, low-risk and low-cost way to invest in and experiment with video communications.

Wainhouse highlights the reduction of financial and technical risks when implementing VaaS as some of its many benefits, also noting the lessened IT burden that comes with cloud-based solutions.

We’re proud to say that AvayaLive Video delivers. It eliminates the complexity, time and upfront costs associated with deploying and maintaining an on-premise video collaboration infrastructure, and combines ease-of-use with high-definition video, powered by Scopia®.

In a review of current VaaS offerings, the Tolly Group identified AvayaLive Video as having the broadest, richest feature set.

Tolly recognized AvayaLive Video’s advantage in delivering excellent user experiences even over low-quality networks.

AvayaLive Video also stood out for its support of AES-128 encryption, 1080p HD video resolution, unlimited use of rooms with up to 25 participants, and the ability to personalize screen layouts. Another noted advantage is its extensive meeting management capabilities, including presenter identification, a unique moderator menu, and indicators for lock, encryption and recording status.

The true testament to AvayLive Video’s benefits, though, is the firsthand experience of our customers. We’ve heard from customers spanning verticals about how the solution has improved business results:

  • A consumer retail organization used AvayaLive Video to elevate inter-store communications and streamline the identification of fast- or slow-selling items. This allowed order levels to be adjusted to improve sales and profits across all locations.
  • An insurance company used AvayaLive Video to enable real-time communications between field adjusters and underwriters. By allowing underwriters to “see” the customer’s situation and damages incurred related to a claim, they were able to collect the right information the first time. This helped clients receive their insurance claim checks quicker, and improved customer satisfaction.
  • For more information on use cases, contact an Avaya associate for a copy of the Avaya white paper, “Video Collaboration Use Cases.”

AvayaLive Video is available to information workers and IT professionals through avaya.com or the Avaya ecosystem of certified business partners.

To sign up for a free trial of AvayaLive Video, visit www.AvayaLive.com/video and click on the “Try AvayaLive Video” button at the bottom of the page.