Sign of the Times: Avaya at Dreamforce this Year!
When for many companies Dreamforce is simply a given, at Avaya we wanted to connect our presence to a unique value proposition. In all aspects of our business decision making, we think of ourselves as a leader, not a follower. Are we being a leader if we participate in an event because everyone else is? The answer is simple: No. We still continue to be the current global leader in contact center and our own Avaya Engage events attract thousands of customers, partners and prospects. The January Engage event in New Orleans is already on track to be the biggest event in Avaya history. Thinking of ourselves as a leader—not a follower—in all aspects of our decision making, works for us.
This year, we announced a significant partnership with Salesforce that many of our competitors can only dream about (no pun intended). This year being at Dreamforce to support and showcase our partnership is a great decision, a great opportunity. I have it on good authority that both Avaya and Salesforce believe that the timing of this particular partnership is perfect. No other contact center-CRM partnership compares.
Sure, like everyone else, we could have aggressively sought a partnership with Salesforce years ago when Marc Benioff famously changed the conversation with his “NO SOFTWARE!” slogan to get companies thinking and talking about cloud differently. We could have jumped on that bandwagon. We were doing integrations with Salesforce CRM for a lot of customers of all sizes at that time. But the reality was that the majority of our 30,000 enterprise contact center customers were not ready to go Cloud yet when it came to their mission-critical, contact centers. There was still too much uncertainty surrounding Cloud. Sure they wanted to integrate Avaya voice with the most popular CRM application in the world, but that was all they wanted at that time.
Now as digital transformation is something most companies are embracing, they are learning that there are attributes of transformation that can benefit them tremendously. Cloud, mobility, embedded, analytics, multichannel integration, omnichannel, customer journey, workflow automation, customization, artificial intelligence, and the list goes on.
The integration of any and all digital channels (email, chat, SMS, social, etc.) is in a formative state. It’s early days. We hear from customers that they want digital channels but they’re not quite sure how they want to deal with going digital. We already know that not everyone will activate all the channels at once. Some might never use all the channels. Companies have to do what’s right for their business, what’s right for their customers.
According to our recent about the adoption of digital channels, 80% of customers have been focusing on best-of-breed digital channels; meaning that they are using SMS from one vendor, email from another, chat and social from another. But 50% of those same customers have said that they will evolve to a single vendor solution of integrated digital channels over the next three to five years. The important part of integrated digital channels is integration with voice and CRM. Digital transformation is the driver.
Enter the Avaya Salesforce partnership. What this partnership means to Avaya and Salesforce customers is: the choice is yours. We are not going to force you into a single solution. Working with Salesforce, we want to understand what experiences you’re trying to drive for your customers and your agents. Do you want Avaya Oceana digital channels integrated with Avaya voice and Salesforce CRM? No problem. Do you want Salesforce digital channels integrated with Avaya voice and Salesforce CRM? No problem. What experiences do you want to drive for your customers and agents? Avaya and Salesforce can work together with you to get you what you need to transform how you are engaging with your customers.
And the choices don’t stop with channel integrations. Embedded is an important transformation attribute. It’s well known that for many industries, contact center agents live and work in their CRM application. Yet the number of windows they have to click and resize to jump from the customer data in the CRM app to the contact center desktop and back again, wastes valuable time and money. No agent should have to waste seconds clicking open, close and resize windows when interacting with a customer or multiple customers at a time. We can embed Avaya digital channels including voice, into the Salesforce desktop. Unlike our competitors, we don’t have a sense of ownership when it comes to the desktop. We recognize that agents live in their CRM application, especially when it’s as easy to maneuver as Salesforce. The desktop is not what Avaya specializes in. High quality voice, sophisticated routing, ease of integration, workflow automation, etc. these are the sophisticated functionalities that customers want and expect from Avaya.
Going to Dreamforce for some may be because it’s what the competitors are doing. For Avaya, we are going to Dreamforce because being a leader is about knowing when the timing is right. The timing is right for Avaya and Salesforce. As a result, the timing is right for Avaya to be at Dreamforce.