The Mantra for Every Company Today: Transform or Be Left Behind
I remember getting the call from Jim Chirico asking me to join the Avaya family as their new head of Global Marketing. I was excited, but I also knew expectations were high—really high. Avaya wasn’t looking for a chief marketer to focus exclusively on brand and advertising. This role would be expected to lead company-wide change in response to the evolution of consumer behavior in the digital age, to accelerate efforts to better define Avaya’s value proposition in enabling digital transformation, and to build new marketing capabilities throughout the company. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I accepted; and I’m thankful I did.
I joined Avaya shortly after its emergence as a public company and as the new executive leadership was forming. This new Avaya was finding its voice—a tremendous opportunity to reconnect with employees, customers, influencers and partners. Things moved quickly and fluidly. Like many people who were familiar with the “old Avaya,” I had preconceived notions about the company, its journey and where it was heading. I no sooner had my foot in the door when I realized these notions had no place taking up space in my head, and I learned three lessons almost immediately about this trusted, authentic and adaptive company.
What I’ve Learned Since Joining Avaya
- Nobody understands transformation better than Avaya. Whereas many companies have to be encouraged and convinced to transform—and go kicking and screaming—Avaya adapts easily because it’s what we do. With a past rich with ideas, discoveries, acquisitions and spin-offs, our history has given us the confidence, the forward-looking vision, the courage to change, the patience to stay the course and the humility to acknowledge mistakes and correct them. And we’ll continue to transform … to grow … to evolve. We’ve come to realize our own strengths and weaknesses, and are leveraging both for positive gain. Our transition from a hardware to a software and services company is enabling us to make the investments necessary to harness powerful technologies like cloud, AI and IoT that will give our customers and partners leverage over the competition. This is exactly what makes us the best choice to meet the demands of companies in their digital transformation journeys.
- Keep it simple. Companies have the tendency to become enamored with their own products and we haven’t been any different. But the days of leading with products are over. We’re in the business of delivering memorable and superior experiences that drive real business value for our customers. To this end, we are working hard to make Avaya easier to do business with, and to give our customers and partners what they want, how they want it. This means giving customers a platform that extends across public, private and hybrid cloud models—while continuing to add value for those who rely on on-prem solutions. We’re simplifying our solutions portfolio, services and applications, and will adopt descriptive names. And our voice in the market will drive further understanding about the experiences we deliver and enable us to develop stronger, more meaningful connections with our customers and partners.
- You can’t buy experience. Avaya embraces its position as the incumbent but isn’t a prisoner to it. This is an important distinction. We recognize that we have a strong history that has built an impressive brand, and we leverage that to underscore our experience in the market. Nobody in the industry has the capabilities we have. Moreover, our strong foundation, impressive installed base and ability to transition successfully puts us in a unique position to leverage our customers’ needs. Our increased focus on delivering the future of customer experience and workforce optimization is directing investment, resources and relentless execution on driving optimal outcomes for our customers. At the same time, we know our story must evolve, as all good brands do. To this end, we’re revitalizing our value proposition to highlight to our customers that we have something new to offer, while strengthening their trust in Avaya as the quintessential thought leader in UC, CC across any platform, whether on-prem or cloud.
How I Think About Avaya
Avaya is a strong and trusted partner. Thanks to our people, we announced this week that Gartner has recognized us as a Leader in its 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications Worldwide. This good news came about just weeks after we earned our spot in the Leaders quadrant for their Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Infrastructure.
This is the ninth time we’ve been in the Leaders quadrant for UC, reflecting Gartner’s confidence in our vision and ability to execute. It’s also another validating proof point underscoring how we’re innovating, moving to the cloud, winning new customers and improving our position across the business.
We were recently recognized for excellence in customer service by the Customer Relationship Management Institute; our NPS score rocks; and we continue to hold very strong market positions in Worldwide Contact Center, Worldwide Unified Messaging, Worldwide Telephony Systems and SME Telephony markets.
A relentless willingness to learn, grow and adapt, and our unwavering commitment to our customers define Avaya. Our future will be extraordinary because we will continue to do what we do best: deliver the most complete portfolio of software and services for multi-touch UC and CC offered on-premises, in the cloud, or a hybrid. Today’s digital world centers on communications enablement, and no other company is better positioned to do this than Avaya. We’re excited to work together with you.