Through this agreement, the companies will market a portfolio of Unified Communications-as-a-Service, Contact Centre-as-a-Service, and infrastructure modernization services. IT in Canada Online interviewed Joe Manuele, VP, service providers and system integrators, Avaya, about the impact of this news.
What it means for both companies
“For Avaya, the number one priority is scalability,” said Mauele. “Partnering with HP, which is much larger than Avaya, allows the latter to accelerate the growth we are seeing in private cloud services and cloud in general. Avaya’s current private cloud services has over 400 customers, over 2 million ports that are being managed by Avaya and it is the fastest growing business within our organization.”
“We have been growing in excess of 20 percent in the last three years in a row and we want to basically accelerate that growth as we see more customers asking for cloud-based solutions,” he added. “What Avaya is effectively doing with HP is transferring some of its delivery folks to the HP outsourcing organization under HPES and there is going to be an extended go-to-market agreement between the two organizations as well as a transformation of HP’s internal contact centre which is an existing Avaya contact centre with over 60,000 agents. Part of this agreement includes the refresh and the upgrading of that contact centre infrastructure which will be a showcase for the industry as well.”
ITiC: How will this partnership benefit businesses/enterprises?
Manuele: What we have seen in discussion with mutual customers, HP has much larger IT outsourcing agreements, so we have run into a number of customers that are both Avaya private cloud services customers and HP customers. For them the ability to integrate how best to have a single number to call and for basically the communicating outsourcing practice to be integrated into HP’s generic outsourcing practice offers tremendous value. I mentioned the word “scale” for our customers so more of our customers, especially the PCS. We are really targeting a large enterprise in global and industries becoming more global in nature. By extending the global reach and the number of facilities, cloud-based data centres, and outsourcing folks available across HP’s 166 markets that they do business in offers very flexible solutions for Avaya’s enterprise customers. Those are the two biggest benefit areas for our customers, the scale piece obviously and the integration of larger outsourcing agreements where a bunch of communications as a service be a big part of the outsourcing agreement.
ITiC: Why is it important to have a secure, reliable collaboration solution?
Manuele: As we migrate to cloud utility-based, the benefits where the ability to scale on-demand, the ability of consumption based networking, to pay as you go or pay as you grow model are obvious. But none matters unless you have the ability to do it securely. In Avaya’s contact centre space, we talk about collaboration as a subset. There are two obviously different subgroups. On the contact centre side, where we maintain very sensitive customer data/information, the ability to store that information, the ability to access that data, but to do it securely with only the right supervisor levels is obviously critical and it is required for different industries to meet specific governance requirements, but obviously for your consumer trust it is critical that is being maintained. And then within the UC world moving from a TDM world to a IP centric based infrastructure the ability to securely transmit those voice calls in any form of media really to the intended audience is critical, so we achieve this in this partnership by leveraging HP’s secure Helion data centre infrastructure.
ITiC: How does this partnership create a better customer experience?
Manuele: From a customer experience perspective in the contact centre world, customers are reaching businesses and suppliers across different media, so the contact centre evolved from the call centre, they could be reached over social media, over Facebook, LinkedIn, and text messaging. Avaya has built a robust multi-channel infrastructure and then leveraging HP’s cloud infrastructure, their compute and storage businesses, and the reach allows us to really expand the availability of the services on a global footprint and I think from a customer experience perspective the Avaya product portfolio has moved in that direction. We lead in this space and it is really about scaling that capability to evolve to a true level which is what HP offers us.
ITiC: Is this strategy optimized for cloud based system?
Manuele: There are two go-to-market motions with the Avaya private cloud services piece focusing on large enterprise or large global accounts. The strategy: there is a big emphasis on the services component, so the ability for us to do staff augmentation, the outright outsourcing of certain functionalities for businesses so they could focus on their core businesses is a big part of the strategy. The ability to do it both on their premise as well on leveraging a public cloud infrastructure or building a hybrid cloud infrastructure is very much embedded into the strategy. So, in the large enterprise global the managed services wrap and the staff augmentation is a large part of the strategy when we go to market. In the commercial and midmarket it is about the ability to turn on quickly to add a new branch office in minutes, activate mobile users to create from profiles based on the different businesses that are being turned on and in that case there is a different go-to-market strategy. The products are less customized and a copy analogy is relevant in Canada right now. In large high-end global enterprises like Starbucks we can get private cloud services anywhere you want, with hundreds of thousands of possibilities. In the midmarket and in the commercial space it is a little bit like Tim Hortons – like “how many coffee and cream do you want in your coffee” or “what size you want it to be.”
ITiC: How is this cost effective for businesses?
Manuele: When you move to the cloud you have the ability to pay for what you consume, it’s cost effective, but also it’s not so much that it could cost you less but it creates tremendous value. It is actually about productivity game for customers and that is really what we are offering in this partnership.
ITiC: Please elaborate how “HP Helion solution will become a cornerstone of Avaya’s cloud offerings.”
Manuele: We are leveraging HP’s Helion data centres worldwide, and we are going to have our services available in over 25 markets initially within a short period of time and that is why we talk about leveraging on the Helion infrastructure, about running Avaya virtualized stack or UC and CC-as-a-service stack on top of the HP Helion cloud data centres.
ITiC: Will the implementation of this strategy be a seamless process?
Manuele: We believe so because for existing customers we are maintaining the same level of service and SLAs. A large customer outreach program is underway. The feedback has been tremendously positive so far, so we are really happy to report that and it is minimal disruption for existing customers and it is the acceleration turning up new services for the new customers who are signing up.
ITiC: In general, how is this strategy going to affect IT managers?
Manuele: I expect it to be seamless for existing IT managers. The current agreement that they have in place between the customers and Avaya those will be maintained and possibly augmented with different offerings that HP can bring to the table, by bringing on new markets for example that may not have been possible in the past, and then for new customers it is really about the acceleration of turning up these new sources and getting them on board and so we really see a seamless transition for existing customer on the IT management side as well.
ITiC: Does this feature have a mobile element in it, or is there software-specific optimized aspect in this strategy?
Manuele: Today Avaya ships four “soft” clients or mobile clients for every hard endpoint that we ship, so we see a massive shift towards the mobile user for using Avaya soft client running on an Avaya cloud infrastructure with HP Helion will enable customers to carry their DIDs on their mobile platform, and regardless of where they happen to be they will be able to place the call securely using their business’s numbers and then we have a number of other applications that also allow users to send a text message from your office phone, from the user’s DID not revealing the sender’s mobile phone number and also send secure text messages across large enterprises. These will absolutely accelerated through this partnership as well.
ITiC: Does this strategy have a separate or specific app for it?
Manuele: Yes, we have a number of applications that are available depending on the mobile device that you are running. So we support iOS, and android devices and depending on the device that you are running you have the ability to run it on PC, MAC, iPad, iPhone, or Google device.
ITiC: What does the future hold for this strategy?
Manuele: Rather than I tell what the future of this strategy is, I think this strategy is the future of our industry. The market is shifting aggressively to all-text based, cloud-based utilization, and we believe that we have an industry lead in this market. We believe that we are by far unique in offering this to large enterprises and global accounts and that this partnership really accelerates the gap that we have with our competitors.
“We are quite bullish about it,” added Manuele. “We believe this is the future. We are betting very big on this strategy.”
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