My Top 5 Takeaways from IAUG Converge 2014

This year’s International Avaya Users Group Converge 2014 really resonated with me.

There were some always-good themes in play, as well as meaningful call-to-action moments.

Let’s look at a few that stood out to me:

1) Always Help Those in Need

Kevin Kennedy shared the story of Kari Hunt, the murdered mother of a 9-year-old, whose daughter tried to dial “911” in an emergency. She didn’t know you had to dial a “9” first, and so the call tragically never made it out of the hotel room she was in with her mother.

Kennedy encouraged attendees to sign a petition to enact Kari’s Law to enforce businesses to change their configuration, enabling “911” to reach emergency services without complications or delays.

This exhortation brought the people to their feet for Hank and DJ Hunt, the parents of Kari Hunt pushing for the legislative reform.

2) Change is Difficult to Execute

Pierre-Paul Allard discussed Avaya’s transformation journey and how customer-led it has been.

The customer-centric transformation journey has been focused on the following themes:

  • Services,
  • Mobility,
  • Application Enablement, and
  • Networking and Fabric Switching.

Related article: Live from #Converge2014: Pierre-Paul Allard Keynote Address on Avaya’s Transformation Journey

He also examined how difficult change is to execute and brought it home for us with the story of his grandmother’s meatloaf.

Apparently, his grandmother had cut two inches off the meatloaf to fit in her oven and his mother continued the tradition not knowing the reason, but wanting to continue the tradition.

This happened in my own family:  My mother always put her large frying pans and baking dishes in the oven.  When one of my sister’s friends asked why she did this, she didn’t know and had to call mom to ask.

Mom didn’t have room anywhere else but my sister continued the tradition without knowing the reason!

3)  It’s All about Attitude

Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith went into his personal experiences with leadership.

During his playing days in the NFL, Emmitt would start his days at the gym by 5:30 AM, and his teammates would wonder how he did it and kept going.

The reasoning was simple — He had to go to bed early in order to get his time in the gym and leave the rest of the day free to plan for his future.

Smith believes that our attitude determines our aptitude, and encouraged us to be take action and be willing to make the necessary sacrifices for our own development like he had to do.

Effective leaders are those that can affect positive change and the increase the ability of teams to execute.

4) Be Prepared (but Flexible)

There were many great sessions at IAUG to enable attendees to get informed, interact, engage and take back that learning to the rest of their teams.

It was a pretty tightly-packed schedule with little downtime, but it was worth it.

I had a great session with Lisa Craig from the Avaya Video Marketing team where we discussed trends in healthcare and described Avaya solutions that support those trends such as:

  • Avaya Collaboration & Mobility,
  • Video Collaboration for care team collaboration and telemedicine,
  • Improved patient experience with Avaya Contact Center solutions, and
  • Avaya networking solutions.

We were able to overcome the short setup time and were able to chat with the audience.

(If you missed our session or would like more information about our Healthcare solutions, please watch the recording and download the presentation from the CONVERGE 2014 mobile application).

5) Mix in Some Fun

Amazingly, it really was great weather and we all got to experience the influence of the Old West, especially at the reception on Tuesday night. They even had a Macaroni and Cheese Bar (yummy)!

It was wonderful to see old friends and get to meet customers and partners throughout the week.

If you want to learn about IAUG, visit The next event is Denver June 14-18, 2015.

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