How the Avaya Global Talent Exchange Program Is Transformative in More Than One Way

Why would a father of four pursue admittance to Avaya’s Talent Exchange Program and move away from home and family for six months, to work abroad in Galway Ireland? Would you? I did.

The pace at which this industry is changing is phenomenal. Gartner predicted that by 2020, 75% of applications supporting digital business will be built, not bought. My discussions with customers confirm that Gartner have it right. Customers increasingly ask for solutions that require integration of our products in their existing best of breed ecosystem. Customers don’t just require it to integrate, they want it to be fast and agile too. This doesn’t just drive change, it is transformational for us as a technology provider. And for that matter, I realized that this transformation would affect me as an employee. The agility customers demand of their technology providers translates to the provider’s demand for employee agility and effectiveness in delivering better outcomes to its customers. In short, the Avaya Talent Exchange Program will allow me to become more effective in our organization.

So for the next six months, I find myself here in Galway, Ireland. As a member of the sales team, I am sitting in the heart of Avaya’s contact center R&D. In the first week, I realized that we live in separate bubbles and we laughed about the perpetual clichés: Sales oversell, R&D underdeliver. Common goals but different priorities make this somewhat inevitable.  I guess if departments have country borders between them, it increases these virtual boundaries.

This exchange program is about learning and sharing, creating mutual understanding. As a member of the sales team, I had not realized how our R&D is transforming its processes from traditional waterfall development to a true agile innovation model with rapid release cycles, early customer engagement and being able to more quickly react to market demands. For me as a salesperson, walking through the labs and speaking to team members I realized I am getting an exclusive look into our future. It is a bright future, but it confirms I was right that it will require myself and my teams to transform too.

While I am here in Galway I see so many opportunities to build valuable bridges. I have already had many “aha” moments that we can learn so much from each other. I immediately understood the value of connecting people across organizations to create better outcomes for everyone, especially our customers. The people here also welcome the sales view on things and are genuinely interested in my feedback. This makes me feel like an important part of our company’s transformation and I can imagine my Talent Exchange peers across the globe feel the same.

Additionally, I decided to transform myself physically as well because my life in Ireland is pretty simple: work-eat-sleep. I went from being a busy dad to being largely alone, and outside of my normal social network and family duties, having loads of spare time. I’ve found this disruption of my normal life, which included some bad habits, was an excellent time to acquire new, good ones like weight lifting, yoga, and clean eating. (I’m happy to report my muffin top is already gone.)

I am truly grateful for this opportunity and the investment Avaya has made in this program, and for the investment and support of my spouse and family to make this all possible.

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