In a recent interview with CRN India, Avaya’s Global Vice President (Channels), Fadi Moubarak discusses the transformational opportunities in the channel
How do you see the transformation in the channel ecosystem and how is it good for a brand?
No transformation happens without representing an opportunity. Usually, in any market, any transformation or evolution that happens has immense value. Due to recent technology changes, mainly driven by cloud, there has been a shift in business model which is further dictating a different value proposition and role for partners to play. As an OEM vendor, we will always need our partners to scale increase our reach, add to the value proposition, and help amplify and take it to the customers. Customers not only need to speak to the vendor, but they also require and prefer to have a trusted adviser who guides them. Hence, the importance of partners is not only limited to the role they play but it’s also the relationship and trust they built with the customers over time.
How Avaya and its partners are raising the customer experience, post pandemic. Can you share some of the initiatives taken in this direction
The most relatable one is the shift to work from home and collaboration solutions which further provided an opportunity to implement and bring in innovative solutions, add licenses, and overall transform the customer experience. Before the pandemic, everybody was used to contacting call centres or seeing organizations face to face for any queries or information. When the pandemic hit, suddenly everyone had to rely on virtual interactions and none of our customers was prepared. However, now, in the new norm, people are not only used to remote interactions and trained on it, but they’re also indeed consciously choosing these technologies.
Large to small companies, SMEs, and mid-market enterprises that never thought of having a contact center, are now stating that ’these new-age collaborative solutions have become the very building block of their’ operations. There is a surge in their dependency as automation has penetrated the customer experience journey, from digital channels, contact centers, to all the way to the supply chain of product to the customer.
Apart from the opportunities that are open for our partners, we have focused on the ecosystem that has complemented solutions with companies like Verint, Gnani,etc. We also have a long list of international companies in India, some of whose requirements are very brief and are sometimes restricted to responding to speech. With India having a lot of innovation and technology expertise, Avaya aims to bring in international experience to the India market and take away learnings for innovations that are relevant to different markets.
What are some of the latest trends in the unified communications and how are you creating opportunities for your partners?
First, the demand for contact centres post pandemic has increased exponentially and for any organization to be able to increase their normal voice agents wasn’t cost-effective. In fact, it would not have been delivered a good customer experience. Therefore, a major trend we are witnessing now is the automation of certain business processes and organizations engaging different resources in a very transparent manner to connect with the customer. Further to this, the subscription and OPEX model has made the consumption of these technologies affordable for the smallest of the company as well. Whereas earlier we used to get sophisticated contact centers with big banks, you can now go to an SME with limited employees, and still get an enhanced performance.
With the recent partnership with Alcatel-Lucent. Can you tell how Avaya and its partners are co-selling the solutions and delivering a highly composable architecture for the ‘Experience Economy’
With Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) we have extended the availability of Avaya’s OneCloud CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service) composable solutions to ALE’s global base of customers. Avaya will offer ALE Digital Age Networking solutions to its customers, covering the full spectrum of enterprise wired and wireless connectivity technologies with advanced cloud platform services, leveraging the latest in IoT analytics, digital workflow, secure mobility, AI for network automation.
This combination of ALE’s end-to-end IoT management, plus their broader enterprise digital age network portfolio, coupled with the OneCloud Experience Platform will deliver unrivaled ability for their customers to compose the future of work, connect all elements of their enterprise, serve the everything customer, and compete in the Experience Economy.
On the partners front, we’re also working with partners and are encouraging them to brush up their skills so that they can shift towards the software, the application, the integration, and the consultative selling approach. Because that will be the core of the value added in the future of the cloud. In the cloud world, we have the solutions running and the role of the partner is to be close to the customer to recommend the right solution and help them integrate multiple cloud solutions to automate business processes.
Avaya has been constantly innovating on its solutions portfolio. So, what are the latest updates and how can partners benefit?
As I mentioned earlier, we have seen an increase in demand for customer experience solutions in the digital format. We launched our social media hub called the Social Media Hub solution, which allows customers to interact with organizations over social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and WhatsApp. We will continue adding as things pick up. These are cloud operated and can be brought incrementally to a contact center that’s already running. It’s not like it’s disruptive, instead it complements what we will already have.
What is the next growth engine you believe going to be for Avaya?
Currently, we are addressing two segments- one with a global solution, pure public cloud, and one with a locally hosted solution, that’s proven to be, meeting the requirements of all these mid-markets, SMEs, or lower enterprises. Its Omni channel with a predefined set of functionalities, set between Avaya and some of the partners, made available for everyone. For example, our collaboration with Inaipi, their platform is built on Avaya technology. We provide a secure technology which further helps them launch from chat conversations to video meetings with state-of-the-art audio in seconds along with cloud contact center features such as inbound and outbound calls, real-time stats, email and webchat, call recording, web integration and collaboration, etc.
Therefore, we should continue the collaboration to address a growing opportunity in front of us as partners in the customer and employee experience space as we have a lot to offer to that market because of our experience with our partners as well as a long-standing experience.