Avaya strategic alliances help partners capitalise on opportunities: Fadi Moubarak
Fadi Moubarak, vice president, Avaya International talks about the growing opportunities in UC and CC, and how the company is enabling its distributors and partners to evolve with changing market dynamics
Recent advancements in team collaboration, embedded communications, virtual assistants and mobility have transformed how businesses and people work, offering exciting new opportunities for meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse workforce.
Cloud has been gaining popularity in different industry segments, particularly in the communications market as large enterprises realise the benefits of cloud in delivering flexible and scalable experiences to customers. The cloud-based contact centre market continues to grow at an incredible pace. To put things into perspective, a Research and Markets report estimates that the global cloud contact centre space will experience a growth valued at around $28.6 billion by 2025.
This means that the sector is facing a compound growth rate of 23.8%. As expected, some areas are seeing faster growth than others. For instance, the report suggests that large enterprises will grow by around 21.8% in the years leading up to 2025, representing a significant shift in the number of larger companies embracing the flexibility of the cloud. Up until recently, many large businesses have struggled to take full advantage of the cloud because of the legacy investments that have forced them to remain true to their existing technology.
Avaya offers open, intelligent and customisable solutions for contact centre (CC) and unified communications (UC) with the flexibility of cloud, on-premises and hybrid deployments. The company is offering a mix of unified communication and team collaboration solutions as increasing demand for UC solutions is opening up opportunities for solution providers to launch advanced versions of collaboration software for enterprises.
Further, changing workforce dynamics, growing prominence for Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS), and virtualisation of data and devices are factors that are expected to increase the adoption of UC solutions in enterprises. The global unified communications market size is expected to reach USD 167.1 billion by 2025, exhibiting a CAGR of 16.8% over the forecast period, according to a new report by Grand View Research.
“As a global leader in digital communications software, services and devices for businesses of all sizes, Avaya shapes intelligent connections and creates seamless communication experiences for its customers. The company’s professional planning, support and management services teams help optimise solutions, for highly reliable and efficient deployments,” says Fadi Moubarak, vice president – channels, Avaya International.
One benefit of cloud-based unified communication platforms is their ability to allow geographically-diverse and dispersed teams to collaborate in real-time via voice and video conferencing. Cloud adoption will enable enterprises to curb spending by adopting an operational cost model.
Increasing competition has led market players to offer diverse solutions with various features, including support for audio and video conferencing, email platforms, instant messaging, and unified messaging. As a result, the market is expected to witness a convergence of voice communication, video communication, synchronous communication, and other communication tools.
“To capitalise on the opportunities in this market Avaya has devised a strategic channel go-to-market plan that goes beyond simply delivering a value proposition to help partners implement and amplify the value proposition,” explains Moubarak.
Avaya’s fiscal year 2019 ended in September, marking another milestone in the transformation of its channel strategy to enable the channel by building an ecosystem of strategic partners. 2019 was crucial for the execution of this strategy and saw Avaya partner with leading industry players such as DEWA, Microsoft, Batelco and Mashreq Bank, among others. “We’ve seen growth in our strategic alliances sales as part of the Avaya solutions. The objective was not only to resell complementing solutions but to complement our value proposition so that we can provide complete solutions to our partners and customers,” he adds.
Moubarak explains that Avaya’s strategic alliances are growing on both UC and CC fronts. “This strategy has been very well received by our partners because it helps them expand their solution portfolio without making investments in terms of which solution to choose, how to test it with Avaya’s solution and generating resources for implementation. Our core focus is to complement existing products and take a well-rounded portfolio in unified communications and contact centre to our partners and customers in the market.”
Increasing regional footprint
Unified communication has addressed the need to improve workforce productivity, streamline enterprise communication, and provide a collaborative working environment. This market has responded well to increased penetration of mobile devices and demand from small and medium enterprise segment. As a natural next step to this growing demand, Avaya is expanding its coverage and investment in the region, especially in emerging economies such as Africa.
Market analyst Gartner expects companies in Africa to increase their IT budgets by 4.3% in 2019 as CIOs continue to rank digitisation as a leading business priority. Also, investment in conversational platforms is found to be the second most pressing issue faced by African IT leaders.
“Africa is an important market for us, and there is much potential for expansion. We have major customers across Africa from Nigeria, Kenya, North Africa, and of course, South Africa and out of a commitment to that region, we’re expanding our coverage and investments.”
Avaya plans to achieve this by growing its network of channel partners across the continent and advancing engagement with large enterprise customers. As part of its expansion strategy to better cover the market, Avaya is onboarding some new value-added distributors. “FVC complemented our portfolio and expansion goals and this year we have partnered with the value-added distributor to deliver our products and services in North, West, East, Central Africa (NWECA) and Egypt.”
In Bahrain, Avaya has a long-standing reseller partnership with Bahrain’s key service provider, Batelco. With the increase in customer demand for cloud-based solutions, Avaya has expanded this alliance. “Batelco has selected Avaya to make our cloud solutions available across a range of deployments – including public and private cloud. Under the terms of this extended partnership, the digital solutions provider will offer Avaya’s portfolio of contact centre and unified communications solutions deployed in the cloud on an as-a-service basis through its Bahrain data centre.”
Earlier this year, Avaya announced a series of enhancements to its Edge Channel Partner Program including a simplified and streamlined program combined with increased benefits and rebates.
Avaya Edge integrates partner feedback and input to create a program that offers equal growth opportunity to partners of all sizes to help drive growth and introduce additional business opportunities.
“We are expanding our market coverage, especially since the announcement of open products that work with Avaya and non-Avaya solutions. For this, we need resellers that don’t necessarily sell the Avaya portfolio but have strength and experience in this area. We are analysing the regional market for gaps and will address them without over-flooding the market with distributors and resellers.”
Avaya has also invested in talent generation in the Middle East through Avaya Academy which is an immersive development program for new hires in customer-facing functions to help individuals enter the field with exceptional training, advanced industry knowledge and a customer-focused mindset.
“For technical enablement, we are strengthening our pre-sales and sales this year with more structure and pre-announced programs to make sure that the information reaches the right partner at the right time. We do not expect our partners to know about the technology, as we can easily help them with expertise. What they need to grasp is how to use it to understand customer requirements. We also complement our partners’ efforts with our events, lead generation and customer opportunities.”
Moubarak goes on to explain what the company expects from its distribution partners and how they can add real value to Avaya’s comprehensive product portfolio. “For Avaya, one value-add that our distributors offer is their reach into different geographies and relationships with relevant resellers. Another value-add is establishing a professional services arm to do integration on behalf of smaller reseller partners. We expect this from both new and existing distribution partners as it will prove to be a mutually beneficial exercise.”
He explains that this will also help smaller and mid-market resellers by offloading investments in integration skills. This translates into a profitable business for the distributors who, like any other market player, are under margin pressures resulting from move to cloud, software and increasing competition.
“Our existing distributors are already investing in professional services and resources. Resellers have been very receptive because this enables them to sell complex solutions without initial investments in skill development and resources,” he adds.
Moubarak concludes saying that contact centres will see tremendous growth in the region as organisations strive to offer a better customer experience. “That is why we are committed to bringing enterprise-like experience in contact centres to other categories of the market.”
Customer service is a crucial differentiator in the industry as it is becoming tough to compete only on price. “With CCaas, we offer the same technology to business owners, irrespective of the size of the organisation that allows them to serve their customers more efficiently,” he explains.
“On the UC front, driving efficiencies and collaboration within organisations is high on the agenda which is why we are not only announcing UC-as-a-Service but for enterprise customers we have combined Avaya spaces with a default UC license. We have also launched one space desktop interface which gives the user a customised view of the most used collaboration application and is customisable as required,” says Moubarak.