Enterprise Connect 2014 Preview: What to Expect from Avaya in Customer Experience Management

FLETCH: Hey. It’s Fletch with the Avaya Podcast Network and welcome to TechTalk. We’re talking with Lindsay Parker, who is the Senior Director for Enterprise Segment Marketing at Avaya. Welcome to the podcast, Lindsay.

LINDSAY: Hey, Mark. Hello.

FLETCH: How are you?

LINDSAY: I’m doing great. How about you?

FLETCH: Good. We do a lot of stuff in the Contact Center space and I’ve heard a lot about CEM. What’s the Customer Experience Management piece?

LINDSAY: Well, Customer Experience Management is part of the market that Avaya’s really carved out in terms of helping our customers provide a great customer experience for their customers.

Lindsay Parker, Avaya

So when we talk about our contacts and our offerings, we really frame it in that Customer Experience Management terminology, because at the end of the day great customer experience is what every contact center manager is striving to provide.

FLETCH: What do you think it is that Avaya does so right? Obviously, we’re a huge leader in the Contact Center Space. What do you think that we’re doing right and why people choose Avaya?

LINDSAY: They choose Avaya for a number of reasons. One is that we are able to provide some really terrific technologies and things like context-aware, proactive, and automated technologies that can easily customize our customers to help them anticipate in unique needs of their end users.

Also, we have a track record, we’re industry leaders. We have the largest market share in the Contact Center space in the world, and the reason that we do is because we help our customers provide great customer experiences at scale. We’re talking about some of the most demanding customer service providers in the world. So people choose us because we have a track record and because we have great technology.

Related article: Customer Experience Management: Don’t Just Measure, Measure What Matters

FLETCH: I think the contact center role is changing, right? They’re getting more involved with social media and you talked about the context-aware, proactive stuff. So I know when I fly every week, when I tweet @United, man, I’ll tell you I get a response back from them within minutes. That’s just smart marketing from a contact center level.

LINDSAY: Absolutely. United is one of the best in the business at keeping you informed. With flight delays, which seem to happen pretty frequently with this weather, that’s a good thing. And that’s exactly the type of experience that our technology is enabling our customers to provide to their end customers, whether they’re passengers on a plane, whether they’re shopping online or in a store across all industries.

That proactive outreach, that ability to anticipate your needs, that’s what our technologies are enabling our customers to provide in terms of that gold standard for service.

FLETCH: What about the Avaya Customer Experience research that we’re doing for 2014? What can you tell us about that?

LINDSAY: Well, we’re really excited about this research, because we historically have surveyed consumers to understand what their service expectations are when they interact with the contact center.

But this particular survey is exciting because we we are talking to consumers in 13 countries–over 8,000 of them. We also then talk to business leaders across the same 13 countries, and part of what we’ve been doing in analyzing that data is comparing consumer expectation with what businesses believe they can deliver.

So this is really exciting research as we look at it, and we’ll be sharing this survey data at Enterprise Connect and then also at the Enterprise Connect Webcast over the next couple of months.

But there are some really amazing insights around what I as a consumer expect, what I’m looking for when it comes to a great interaction with the company and some of limitations that businesses are facing as they try to meet those consumer expectations.

FLETCH: Yeah, I know. The Avaya Podcast Network is going to be at the Enterprise Connect on March 17th and we’re also going to be at the Avaya Technology Forum down in Orlando. What other events do we have tuned up here? Where’s Kevin speaking and the few other people?

LINDSAY: We have a lot going on at Enterprise Connect. We’re really excited about it.

Kevin is going to be doing the keynote on March 18th, talking about the new Avaya. Central to that conversation will be these Customer Experience capabilities that we’re launching. We’re also going to have a launch reception for some of our best and brightest customers, analysts and media to talk about the new capabilities we’re launching. We’re going to have an interactive mobile SMS messaging game scavenger hunt where we’ll showcase these technologies in the Avaya Aura Experience Portal Solutions by putting it into our customers’ and analysts’ hands.

So they’ll actually be using the technology as they go through the scavenger hunt. We’ll be showcasing these technologies at the expo and we’ll have live demonstrations and more in our Innovation lounge, where we’ll really talk about the exciting things that we’re doing around collaboration environment and the snap ends that support this truly seamless customer experience.

After Enterprise Connect, there’s even more going on. We’re doing a webinar where we’re partnering with the Enterprise Connect online team. The title of that webinar is “Deliver Legendary Customer Experiences One Interaction at a Time,” and Eric Krapf, who’s the co-chair at Enterprise Connect and the editor of No Jitter, will be hosting and facilitating the conversation.

Sheila McGee-Smith, the founder and principle analyst at McGee-Smith Analytics will be sharing what’s going on. What she’s seeing across contact centers, and the industry trends globally.

So, a lot of events teed up, a lot of exciting things happening as we really work to help our customers deliver legendary customer experiences one interaction at a time.

FLETCH: Yeah. Now I think we really picked up the pace as far as customer interactions and show appearances and stuff that we’re doing. We’re going to be in booth #1005 in Enterprise Connect. So what can the audience do as far as registration for some of this webcasting and where can they find more information?

LINDSAY: Well, they can register for the webcast by reading my blog on www.avaya.com/blogs or www.avaya.com for more information.

FLETCH: I really appreciate you sitting down with me again, Lindsay. I guess I’m going to see you down in Enterprise Connect and we’ll see you in Dallas at CONVERGE2014 too.

LINDSAY: Exactly. All kinds of exciting events coming up and I look forward to seeing you there, Mark.

FLETCH: Yeah. It’s what I call silly season, right? It just tradeshow after tradeshow after tradeshow.

LINDSAY: Exactly.

FLETCH: I think I’m on a plane for the next three months. But I’ll be tweeting about it.

LINDSAY: Exactly.

FLETCH: We’re sitting down with Lindsay Parker, the Senior Director for Enterprise Segment Marketing at Avaya, talking about the Customer Experience Management launch. Thanks for talking to us today.

LINDSAY: Thank you.

This podcast was brought to you by the Avaya Podcast Network.

Executive Producer: Jean Turgeon a.k.a “JT”
Producer & LatAm Correspondent: Guadalupe Hugony
Programming Creative Director: Fletch
APN Legal Correspondent: Atty. Martha Bayer

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We’re Doubling Down on the Cloud-Based Contact Center with Google

Nearly every business, no matter its size, has some mechanism in place to engage with their customers. For the world’s smallest companies, that’s usually a voicemail number or email address that one person responds to in their spare time.

In contrast, the world’s biggest companies deploy sophisticated, multimillion-dollar systems capable of efficiently processing hundreds of thousands of customer interactions per hour, using tens of thousands of customer engagement agents working 24/7.

But what about the millions of entrepreneurs who find themselves between these two poles?

Companies that are ready to improve their customer engagement, but aren’t ready for a big upfront investment, are increasingly looking to cloud-based, subscription services first.

Read: Avaya Chooses Google Cloud Platform for New Cloud-Based Contact Center Solution on the Google for Work blog

Analysts at Frost & Sullivan estimate the cloud-based customer engagement market will grow 11.6%, roughly twice the growth rate of premise-based customer engagement solutions.

Today, we’re announcing the Summer 2015 availability of Customer Engagement OnAvayaTM Powered by Google Cloud Platform. August 2015 update: The product is now available. Please click here for details.

I want to take a closer look at some of the new features we’ve been hard at work on, and why they’re so exciting.

This new solution provides low-cost agent setup, and allows agents to work from anywhere, right in the browser.

Imagine opening up your Chromebook and logging into the Customer Engagement OnAvayaTM Powered by Google Cloud Platform app with a simple username and password. No VPN required.

We do this by using HTTPS to establish a secure connection between the app and Avaya Secure Border Controller Element, software that verifies access to the database and routes relevant traffic to and from the app. Interactions inside the app are handled by WebRTC, an emerging Web standard that we’re strong supporters of.

HTTPS opens up a temporary information tunnel between the app and the enterprise, which closes as soon as the agents logs off. Every time you use Gmail, buy something online or check your bank balance from your phone, you’re using HTTPS.

Application-specific access using HTTPS has three major benefits for the enterprise: Simplicity, security and scalability.

First, simplicity. Onboarding a new agent is a snap, and can be done completely remotely. Instead of provisioning a new VPN token and sending the agent a complicated sheet of instructions, they log into a Web app–just as simple as logging into Gmail.

Second, security. VPN opens up a bigger tunnel into the enterprise, essentially placing the entire computer on the network virtually. With HTTPS access, data to and from the enterprise is limited to a single application. Nothing else gets through.

Lastly, scalability. The solution is hosted on Google Cloud Platform, which offers world-class reliability. It’s easy to scale up as your business needs grow, and new features are added automatically as they come online.

All customer data exists in the cloud, so if the agent’s Chromebook gets lost or stolen, your risk as an enterprise is greatly reduced.

The result is a truly virtual customer engagement solution, perfect for companies looking for a subscription-based cloud software model.

Customer Engagement OnAvayaTM Powered by Google Cloud Platform is widely available in the U.S. through certified Avaya business partners and Google for Work services partners.

Spring into the Avaya Technology Forum

It’s that time of year, again. The Avaya Technology Forum (ATF) is once more upon us.  Despite the added workload and dizzying deadlines, it really is my favorite time of year at work.  It’s like the Avaya version of Spring.

As seasons go, Spring stands out as a New & Improved version.  The grass is green, again.  My wife is out tending to all of her blooming plants and flowers.  The kids are racing around on their bikes and scooters getting reacquainted with playing outside and burning off months of pent up energy.  And I get to enjoy the view over the top of my computer screen, while trying to focus on conference calls instead of the little frolicking fawns in my backyard.

ATF blog ss-1

In the same manner, ATF is full of new life and energy.  The demo floor is filled with passionate partners and curious customers.  The engineers are busily attending to new products and solutions.  Some of the brightest minds at Avaya are bouncing around from demos to whiteboards and all in between passionately listening to the challenges of different businesses and collaborating on the best ways to address them through technology.  And I get to soak it all in throughout a whirlwind of activities, while trying not to be late for my own sessions as I’m caught up in the energy of the conversations.


While ATF is a fantastic event for corporate folks like me to engage and stay in touch with partners and customers and validate priorities for development, it’s ultimately an event for you.  ATF is focused on helping you make the most informed decisions possible about migrating, designing and implementing the right networking, customer engagement, unified communications and engagement architecture for your enterprise. It’s the only place you’ll find all the experts from Avaya in 1 place at 1 time, and their sole purpose is to showcase the latest innovations and provide the latest information to you through 3 days of planned sessions, scheduled meetings, demos and casual hallway conversations.  We’ll be introducing new products, making strategic announcements and providing full access to the roadmap, and you’ll be right there to hear it first and pose your questions to the people behind it all.  It’s the ultimate inside track.


Of course, you can hear about it from the comfort of home…or your office if you prefer.  The coolest thing about ATF is all the technology on display.  We don’t just talk about it.  We actually show it.  On the demo floor, you’ll see existing equipment, as well as, the equipment that’s becoming generally available around the time of ATF.  You can get an overview of the setup from experts tending the demo and even get a firsthand view under the covers at the keyboard.  It gets better than that, though.  You’ll get the same experience with some of our strategic technology that’s still under development for release later this year.  The only way you’ll get any closer to the future of Avaya is to come join our team at ATF 2015, at the Buena Vista Palace Orlando, FL, from February 24 -26, 2015.


So, as you can tell, I’m quite excited…and I hope you are, too.  Why wait for Mother Nature?  Come celebrate the Spring of technology with Avaya, and don’t forget to say, “hi.”  I’ll be easy to find.  Just listen for the loud Texas drawl bouncing around from conversation to conversation.  Once you find it, you’ll find me starry eyed, like a kid in a candy shop.  I can’t wait!

So head on down to the Avaya Technology Forum 2015website and register to attend today!

See you in Orlando!

Avaya Helps Track Santa This Christmas Eve, and Brings Military Families Together

Engagement is in our DNA. It’s in the way our teams communicate and collaborate. It’s in our vision for how customers and businesses will interact. It’s about bringing people together to forge deep, meaningful connections.

This year, engagement extends to the holiday season in a very special way. As we’ve done in years past, Avaya will help bring families closer to Santa, powering the contact center at NORAD where nearly 1,250 volunteers will answer calls and emails from kids inquiring about Santa’s whereabouts on Christmas Eve. Each year, the NORAD Tracks Santa team relies on the power of Avaya technology to make sure they can connect with children calling in from around the world.

The NORAD Santa tracker helps to connect kids with Santa’s helpers on Christmas Eve. It also reminds us that there are those who can’t make phone calls as easily as we can. Military servicemembers deployed overseas during the holiday season see the simple act of a phone call home to their loved ones as the best gift they could receive.

In an effort to help bring those families closer together, Avaya is supporting #SantaCause, making a donation to Cell Phones For Soldiers. This nonprofit organization–started by two kids who emptied their piggy banks to purchase phone cards for our military stationed abroad–has now donated more than 210 million minutes of talk time to troops and their families to make phone calls a possibility. We’re proud to be associated with Cell Phones For Soldiers and their incredible efforts to connect families all year long.

We would like to encourage you–our friends and partners–to join us in our effort to make the most important connections a reality this season. We’d like to also say thank you to our friends at @Plantronics for their generous donation.

To track Santa on Christmas Eve visit www.noradsanta.org or call 1 877 HI-NORAD.

To learn more Cell Phones For Soldiers and to make a donation: www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com