Avaya CEO Alan Masarek has toasted the company’s bounce back from bankruptcy by shedding light on how the vendor is attracting new customers.
While its onus is very much on supporting existing customers, Masarek told UC Today:
Over the course of this very noisy year, we’ve still added thousands of net new customers, over a thousand a quarter, generally.
“It’s a really good story in terms of how quickly we’ve been able to demonstrate that we’re the vendor that can take care of their base customers and also add net new along the way.”
Such a story may surprise many industry observers that followed last year’s downward spiral. Yet, the company has proven more resilient than many had thought.
Its transformation journey, however, is ongoing. “We’re in what I refer to as an eight-quarter transformation – and we’re more than halfway through,” added Masarek.
“We’ve done all that very substantial financial restructuring, resetting the product strategy, [refreshing the] go-to-market, ensuring organizational alignment, and revitalizing the culture with the leadership. Now, it’s all about execution.”
GITEX 2023 came at the ideal time for Avaya to double down on its ability to execute, giving the vendor a big platform to share customer success stories.
Such stories will help the vendor bring its “innovation without disruption” strategy to life – and Zeus Kerravala, Principal Analyst at ZK Research, gave his stamp of approval for this approach.
“The mission to deliver innovation without disruption, I think, is the right one for the company,” he said.
“One of the most underappreciated aspects of Avaya is just how massive its customers are – and when you’re dealing with 60-70,000 seat contact centers, you can’t just rip that all out and move it to the cloud.
So, their ability now to leave that rock-solid voice infrastructure in place and bring in those digital channels over the top is what serves their customers best.
Indeed, that customer base includes approximately 90 percent of Fortune 100 companies – and for Avaya to return to growth and profitability, keeping these mega-enterprises is crucial.
How Avaya Aims to Win Back Customer Trust
Masarek acknowledged the importance of sustaining strong ties with Avaya’s existing customers and made the case for why they should trust Avaya – echoing Kerravala in doing so.
“Think about why they should trust us on that journey,” he stated. “Let’s consider the contact center as an example. They’re not just voice… but voice is still a critical component of it – and it’s inarguable that Avaya offers the best voice in the world.
“Customers can maintain our core voice plumbing, bespoke throughout their environment, mature, battle-tested, and very heavily featured, and we’re adding chat, social, digital, and a variety of AI utilities now on top of it.”
Avaya has placed significant emphasis on those elements of AI in recent months, working more closely with Cognigy – a Magic Quadrant leader for conversational AI.
Yet, it has also released original AI features, culminating in the release of its new contact center generative AI innovations. Discussing these, Kerravala said:
In the contact center space, we’ve heard a lot about how GenAI helps the agents. But, what was impressive about what Avaya showed is how other people – including customers, supervisors, data scientists, and analytics leads – can benefit from the technology, and they put it on display here at GITEX.
Nevertheless, front-and-center was the “innovation without disruption” mantra, which seems to be catching the eye.
Indeed, Google’s latest contact center innovations drew parallels with this approach, and new research showcasing the slowdown of CCaaS growth could indicate a desire for a more cautious migration approach.
Somewhat making this point, Masarek said:
Competitors are coming in and saying implicitly that you have to rip out all that embedded technology to move to the cloud. It doesn’t make any sense. It introduces too much risk, and the larger the customer and the more complex and regulated the industry, that risk becomes even greater.
“The whole notion of innovation without disruption is bringing in the innovation, over the top and via the cloud, but don’t disrupt the underneath.”
For more on the innovation without disruption strategy, check out the full interview with Masarek below.