As the curtains closed on Avaya ENGAGE, CX Today got the rundown from prominent industry analyst Zeus Kerravala, Principal Analyst at ZK Research.
During the interview, Kerravala appeared cautiously optimistic about the company’s future following its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and the appointment of a new c-suite.
Kerravala began by reflecting on Avaya’s strengths, as well as Masarek’s headline statement at the event that “Avaya is back”:
“I am not sure if [Avaya] ever went away,” said Kerravala.
“Obviously, the competition is very big, but I think everything is set up on paper for them to be successful.
They have got a new management team. Last week, they announced some new C-Suite executives, and I heard there’s more coming.
“[Avaya] restructured things financially, so the big debt load they had and the looming payments that might hurt the company are gone.
Kerravala continued: “The customers here really like the technology, and its customers have stayed fiercely loyal.
So are they back? They are back as strong as they can be.
A New Era Begins
For CEO Masarek, the plan is to separate the former Avaya, which went bankrupt twice, and its latest incarnation.
Its customers stood by Avaya before, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a second bankruptcy.
Moreover, if Masarek changes too much, he risks inadvertently removing aspects that customers liked or even relied on.
Balancing that equation is seemingly at the heart of Avaya’s new go-forward strategy. As Kerravala stated:
Customers do not appear to want a hard and fast move to the cloud. Instead, they want a gentler migration approach that doesn’t uproot their systems.
Masarek’s campaign slogan – “innovation without disruption” – reflects this approach, which he is building a c-suite around.
The latest members include Amy O’Keefe as Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Omar Javaid as Chief Product Officer (CPO), and Josh Mueller as Avaya’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).
Naming this team was a key first step post-bankruptcy. Now, Kerravala has his eyes peeled on the next.
“Alan’s been in the CEO role for about a year or so. From here, we will be watching,” he said.
“They have taken steps to refine everything really, the portfolio, the go-to-market, the messaging.
“I thought the last CEO was very operationally focused. He only ever talked about kind of transitioning to software subscription, and that was more a financial re-engineering of the way they sell.
[Masarek] has been much more focused on rounding out the portfolio and driving that… as the guiding light for the company. I think that has been a big change.
Five takeaways from Avaya ENGAGE
Here are five key takeaways from Avaya ENGAGE, which Zeus Kerravala shared with us.
- “Avaya is back”: a headline quote from Masarek
- Customers like the technology and remain very loyal to Avaya
- Customer contact centers are bigger than you might think
- Customers want a migration approach
- To gain trust, Avaya needs to put its words into actions
Avaya also launched Avaya Customer Experience Services, Avaya Experience Platform Connect, and Avaya Enterprise Cloud.
Last month, Avaya rebranded its cloud contact center technology to Experience Platform.