Avaya Will Continue To Bet Big On SMBs, Digital India

by Sohini Bagchi    Mar 27, 2017


Communications solutions provider Avaya that was reeling under huge debt and filed for bankruptcy protection in the US in January, clarified that its India operations will be as usual. India is among the top ten markets for Avaya not only in terms of turnover, but also for growth and development. Over 30 percent of the company’s products and solutions development are done out of Indias R&D centres - Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad. Smart cities and digital transformation, being major focus of the company, Avaya India is also working closely with state governments on providing emergency response systems and digitization of education initiatives in this area. In a recent conversation with CXOToday, Vishal Agrawal,  Managing Director, India and SAARC, Avaya discusses the company’s ambitious growth plans in India, with a focus on its hybrid cloud solutions for SMBs as well as the road ahead for smart city projects in the country. 

CXOToday: In what ways Avaya shifted its focus in the India market in the last 12-18 months?

The last 12-18 months had been an important time for Avaya. We changed our product mix, made everything available as a software component, and worked towards enhancing customer experience. We expanded our innovative product portfolio while driving sales and services growth in both the enterprise and mid-market segments. We shifted our focus on re-energizing and entering newer segments and have built an excellent portfolio for mid-market reach. In the mid-market, we have spread our wings across India. Our on premise solution IP Office Contact Center (IPOCC) is perfect for small and mid-size businesses. Also, we have been focusing on the government in a big way. Today, 30% of our product revenue comes from the government. So, that’s a fundamental change as Avaya traditionally has been associated with voice-based contact center space.

Our ‘Dail100’ project with Uttar Pradesh government was successfully concluded. Also, this year our two important events had concluded in Dubai, our partners program ‘Edge’ and ‘Engage’ – that brought Avaya’s partners, customers and industry leaders, together on a single platform to discuss and understand industry trends. The global launch of Avaya Edge is based on three pillars followed by Avaya, It should place the customer first; it should protect and represent the Avaya brand; and it should be highly rewarding for the professionals and organizations.

CXOToday: While globally Avaya had to undergo several turmoil, how have you managed to strengthen the India team?

We are operating our business as usual, and are fully committed to providing our customers and partners with the same innovative products and industry-leading service you have come to expect from us. India is amongst the top 10 markets for Avaya, in the last three years we have seen around 13 -19 per cent growth and we expect this growth to continue. We constantly evolve and innovate ourselves to address customers’ growing demand for digital transformation through software-based solutions and smart analytics, while offering compelling paths for both partners and customers. In India, we have been closely working with State Governments and SMBs to deliver best customer experience while driving digital transformation.

CXOToday: How SMBs are adopting new technologies like Cloud to drive their business strategy? What is driving the demand for adoption of cloud amongst SMB’s in India?

Cloud is one of the key enabling technologies in the transformation to the digital enterprise, which is disrupting all industry segments and markets. The growing economic pressures and shrinking budgets are challenging enterprises to do more with less. In order to remain competitive, organizations must optimize their communications systems. This is making organizations shift to cloud communications to gain more predictable results and more quickly ramp up or down based on changes in business conditions. Indeed, many SMB companies are expanding much faster than their larger enterprise rivals, and require nimble, agile, aware processes and decision-making.

Going to the cloud has many benefits, but it can lead to some new challenges that businesses need to consider. As solutions move from homogenous, monolithic technology to heterogeneous technology running on layers upon layers of cloud infrastructure, customers get increasingly concerned about cloud security and accountability for service delivery/support of the full solution. Customers will demand accountability and value from their “point” vendors, requiring strong relationships and mastery of the infrastructure implications, which includes the cloud applications, as well as the network and desktop/mobile devices that serve them.

Further, implementing a new operating model is a difficult task – there are organizational, process, and product management transformation that are more challenging than infrastructure changes. Building a cloud business requires developing new capabilities, such as professional services, introducing a services-oriented culture, developing KPIs that focus on customer value rather, and putting in place a service-creation process.

CXOToday: India is predominantly a SMB market. How is Avaya targeting this market? How is Avaya helping SMBs in achieving their business targets while driving digital transformation?

The SMB sector in India is growing at an exponential rate and has the potential to be one of the primary drivers of the Indian economy. Customers today expect to receive an always-on personal digital experience, and with 89% of companies now preparing to compete primarily on customer experience, meeting that expectation is no longer optional. Today, SMB organizations and large enterprises have the same goal–to improve engagement between team members and customers.

For small and medium businesses, Avaya provides a complete, integrated array of sophisticated unified communications and contact center capabilities, a full-featured mobile experience, and a choice of on-premises, cloud, or hybrid deployments. This range of choice means SMBs can move to the cloud at a more measured pace, adding new features and capabilities as they become needed, while maximizing investment in existing solutions. Avaya offers a proven, industry-leading cloud solutions through the partner. Our extensive network of experienced partners knows exactly how to help customize solutions as per the customer’s needs. Avaya IP Office release 10, helps channel partners deliver cloud-hosted unified communications and contact center solutions to customers, leveraging the strength of one of the most widely-sold UC solutions for SMB customers today.

CXOToday: What are you key business plans in India in the next 1-2 years?

India is at the cusp of Digital revolution with Government playing a major role in driving internet growth in the country through initiatives like ‘Digital India’, ‘Smart City’ and ‘Make in India’.  There is a huge opportunity for us to work closely with our partners to deliver greater level of services and solutions to our customers while contributing to the country’s economy. We have an apt model in place and we believe that our growth (in India) will continue to rise.

As we can clearly see that customer experience is driving every major business decision for most enterprises, and for good reason. Leading with User Defined Experience in the Digital World is very important & it takes experience creating solutions for enterprise clients across every industry. We aim to achieve that with our current portfolio of solutions. We are focused on expanding our innovative product portfolio while driving sales and services growth in both the enterprise and mid-market segments. Avaya’s expanded portfolio addresses customers’ growing demand for digital transformation, software-based solutions and smart analytics, while offering compelling migration paths for both partners and customers.

Moreover, Avaya is looking at a range of smart city projects but these are still in nascent stages. Also, Smart City projects can’t take a “one-size-fits-all” approach – you need to look at a range of solutions across different categories. The basic elements of smart cities like emergency response system, traffic system are coming in now and we will see more of them in the next couple of years.