Susy LiemJanuary 22, 2020

Susy Liem: My First 30 Days at Avaya


Nobody believed I would leave Cisco after almost twenty rewarding years there. 

Now here I am at Avaya, having taken an exciting leap forward in a new role as Vice President of Cloud Solutions Product Management.

Cisco was great, but I have a driving urge inside me to tackle exciting new challenges.  It is a desire to be disruptive and make a difference.  It is a passion to define and redefine outcome-driven collaboration cloud solutions with a strong team that shares that passion. Many collaboration clouds in the industry define themselves as super-cool experiences with great cloud platform technologies, but few define collaboration as an effective business outcome.  But this is exactly how I see cloud-based collaboration solutions, and I have joined a team that feels the same way.

Why Avaya?

Avaya is a company that is ready, hungry and transforming itself with an aggressive, customer-centric mindset.  Ready and hungry are not strong enough words to describe Avaya’s transformation.  Joining Avaya is like joining a startup, with that same energy and enthusiasm, but with a plethora of advantages that any company would envy.  It has an enormous customer base of over 100 million UC lines and more than 5 million Contact Center users built over a 20-year history.  It has created a tremendous channel ecosystem built on deep partner engagement that no competitor can equal. And it has a rich portfolio of technology, patents and also deep experience delivering true global services.  So really, my question is, “Why not Avaya?”

Gold Nuggets?  Gold Rush?

During my first thirty days at Avaya, I have been very impressed to find one gold nugget after another.  Together with my new colleagues, we are experiencing a gold rush of opportunities to deliver increased value and tremendous business outcomes for our global customers.

One of the gold nuggets in Avaya is its Contact Center business.  While many might look at a Contact Center as a market adjacency of UC, I view Avaya IX Contact Center as a perfect example of leveraging a communication platform to achieve highly measurable business outcomes.  As the global leader in Contact Center solutions, Avaya knows how to measure and deliver relevant business metrics and goals for its users.  The transformation of Avaya IX Contact Center into an AI-assisted, AI-routed, and AI-based platform is impressive.   How organizations connect and engage with their customers is being defined and re-defined dramatically, with digital channels being the primary choice for Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z.  Avaya is in the right place at the right time to lead the massive transformation in this industry.

Another gold nugget is Avaya’s private cloud and managed services business.  The transition to the cloud is traditionally easier for smaller businesses. However, Avaya is able to accelerate the migration of enterprise and large enterprises to cloud with its capability to take a company from an on-premise deployment and confidently and securely migrate them to cloud.  There is no other vendor that has this capability and experience, which is why more companies are choosing Avaya to help them in their cloud journey.

Another gold nugget?  There are many collaboration cloud players in the industry, however, none of them can offer a truly integrated global service.  Avaya’s experience delivering global services is fundamental to the success of Avaya OneCloud.

Finally, a highly integrated platform and a robust partner strategy is a major advantage.  As we enter the world of vertical business processes, IoT, and other new innovative use cases, we build cloud services that are highly integrated with other cloud services.  The simplicity and seamlessness required for this need an easily integrated platform and an approach where partnership and collaboration are defined as the way to do business.  This describes Avaya’s approach and unique capabilities.

And that’s just scratching the surface.

So I jumped at the chance to join Avaya in this new role.

Product management is in my DNA. Fifteen years ago, I made the transition to product management from system architecture/engineering and I have loved this role ever since. As a designer at heart, I love to define products and cloud services designed to achieve great outcomes .  I am always excited by the emergence of new products that can redefine markets – especially at cloud speed. And my entrepreneurial spirit embraces P&L responsibility, and the ability to have a direct, positive impact on customer experience that can be readily measured. These success metrics keep me on my toes to deliver – and deliver again.

For me, heading up a dynamic team as VP of Cloud Solutions Product Management within Chief Product Officer Anthony Bartolo’s organization is more than just a leadership role.  It is a stewardship position.  Avaya has entrusted me with the vison and strategy for next-gen cloud services that our global customers and partners are depending on to drive their successful business outcomes.  You can be assured that it is our customers who are top-of-mind for me, and they will be the North Star that continues to drive Avaya’s cloud transformation.

My first thirty days at Avaya have filled me with excitement and have confirmed that taking the leap to this new role was a fantastic decision. This company has tremendous customers, a remarkable team of passionate and talented colleagues who are driven by delivering Experiences that Matter, and a depth and breadth of experience that few can match.

I’m excited to be part of this family and share in this exciting gold rush to deliver true business outcomes to our customers.

Let’s go!

My First 30 Days at Avaya

Susy Liem

Susy Liem is Vice President, Cloud Solutions Product Management. She joined Avaya from Cisco, where she spent twenty years in a wide range of technology leadership positions, including solutions architecture, product management and business development in the company’s optical, cable, mobile and collaboration business units. In addition, she managed a variety of cloud collaboration lifecycle activities including solution definition, competitive strategy, commercial offer definition, business development opportunities, partner and channel enablement strategies and alignment with sales, marketing and support teams. Prior to Cisco, Liem led engineering and architecture teams for Ericsson, Motorola and Samsung in the U.S., Europe, Korea, China and India.

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