Anticipating Avaya’s Emergence from Chapter 11—Why Trust is Invaluable
I recently participated in a panel discussion at the BC Summit (an event held by UC Strategies, a leading consulting organization with a history of following Avaya and other solution providers in the UC industry). The panel’s focus was Industry Consolidation and Change, moderated by Jim Burton, Founder and CEO of CT Link. The audience included consultants who speak at many industry conferences, are highly active in social media, and are often involved in RFPs with customers, along with several channel partners. I had the opportunity to talk about next steps in Avaya’s emergence from chapter 11 as a public company.
I wanted the audience to understand that Avaya will emerge stronger than ever. Our competitors obviously hoped for a different outcome. And some industry pundits even three or four months ago thought that the outcome might be different. But our strong financial performance and the positive momentum in our debt restructuring bode well for the future.
Looking Back at Avaya History
When I joined Avaya three years ago, I knew Avaya had challenges with its level of debt. I knew customers wanted some assurance about our financial situation and how we would be able to maintain our track record for development and innovation. But I also had an appreciation of Avaya’s reputation in the industry and the market opportunities we had—something our customers recognized as well.
I’ve seen Avaya reach many milestones, met so many diverse customers, and seen technology in use that I had never seen before. We’ve transformed the business to the point that we now generate nearly 80% of our revenue from software and services. We advanced Avaya’s Cloud offerings and introduced next-generation solutions for unified communications and contact center.
The most important thing I’ve taken away from the past three years is that the future of Avaya is built on trust—trust between Avaya, our customers, and our partners. The kind of trust that has helped us earn the business of the leading airline, hospitality and financial services companies in the world – including more than 90% of the Fortune 500. It’s the kind of trust that convinced our customers to stay with us throughout the challenging chapter 11 proces—despite the best efforts of our competitors.
There’s No Success Without You
As Avaya’s emergence from chapter 11 comes closer, it is obvious that we cannot do this alone. We need to work closely with people like the consultants who attended the BC Summit. Customers who are ready to proceed with Avaya projects, which might have been put on hold, will be seeking their opinions. Our success should give them confidence—from delivering 600,000 IP Office systems in 164 countries around the world, to the delivery of UC and contact center communication solutions to some of the world’s most sophisticated businesses. And, we continue to increase focus on global cloud and private cloud solutions.
During the panel, I discussed the record number of customers and partners who attended Avaya Engage in Las Vegas earlier this year, and that we already have many sponsors signed up for Avaya Engage 2018 in New Orleans this January. We expect even more customers and partners to attend in 2018 because of their interest in hearing about Avaya’s emergence from Chapter 11.
The opportunity for the consultants has never been greater. We see more customers than ever that are engaging with both UC and contact center projects on a massive scale. Businesses that held their ground, stood by us based on that trusted relationship, needed that clarity about our future.
We look forward to delivering even greater value to our customers. We see increasing interest in our Avaya Breeze™ platform, and the applications for both customer engagement with the Avaya Oceana™ solution, and team engagement with the Avaya Equinox™ experience.
Prepared for the Marketplace
In the session, I heard a comment that “telephony isn’t a product—it is an application.” Digital transformation just changes the way people communicate, with messaging as an increasingly preferred way for people to communicate. There will always be a market for helping people communicate.
The greatest strength Avaya has is the clarity of knowing what we need to succeed with software and services. At the BC Summit, Jim Burton highlighted that Cisco is having challenges with Spark application development adoption, Microsoft is moving from Skype for Business to Teams without a lot of specific details on the evolution plan for customers, and that Broadsoft has an uncertain future operating as an independent company.
All of this highlights a great opportunity for Avaya, but we don’t have to wait. As Avaya’s new CEO Jim Chirico has highlighted, Avaya’s ability to execute well is our ability to win in the market. The future of Avaya is underway!