Avaya is recognized as a leader in the Business Communications and Contact Center industry, helping organizations around the world achieve success through the integration of communications with their business strategies and operations, creating open, convergent and innovative solutions aimed to improve and simplify communications and collaboration, either in the cloud, on a company’s premises or with a hybrid model.
Between late 2017 and early 2018, the company emerged with a new leadership team and a revised strategy based on the acceleration of the open architecture and the cloud; integrating artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and emerging technologies, and transforming the business through greater investment in innovation.
With over 20 years of experience in the technology and telecommunications industry, Galib Karim is vice president of Avaya for the Americas International, a position in which he is especially responsible for the company’s regional strategy and in which he has excelled due to his achievements.
“In its beginnings, in the early 2000s, Avaya started the interaction Center with the goal of activating the management of customer relations, which allowed companies to take their multi-platform call centers to multimedia contact centers and to do so in a variety of locations. A ‘convergent communications’ plan was focused on the role that applications would play in making communications improve the business performance of companies of all sizes and in all verticals,” as Karim explains.
Avaya emerges in a moment in which a series of important technological innovations were happening and at a time when companies needed truly innovative solutions to help improve the employees’ productivity and customer service, while reducing the costs through the integration of multiple forms of communication, including telephony, email, instant messaging and video. That is how the company was able to integrate communications directly into applications, browsers and devices. “The main goal was focused on liberating people from their desks and providing them with a more natural and efficient way to connect, communicate and share, when, where and however they want to,” says the vice president.
Our key: commitment
For the company it has been crucial staying deeply committed to the customers, as well as listening and responding to their needs while maintaining the credibility and reputation as the company that offers communication solutions to all industries.
Avaya has fully understood the current dynamic of the market and the industry, and over the last two years the company has significantly accelerated its innovation rate.
“Amongst our latest announcements, the following stand out: the launch of the artificial intelligence-based virtual agent, Ava, and the integration of its collaborative functions in group with our conferencing solution, Equinox Meetings Online. In addition, the company has been working on several initiatives in order to become a synonymous for cloud communications for the customers of the Latin American market, through Avaya Private Cloud Services (APCS) and the program “Powered by”whose acceptance has proven its indisputable success in the region,” as the executive emphasizes. “The next step was to create a strategy of differentiation and to focus on a new strategy to invest in people and in technology. We wanted to bring new experience and new knowledge to the business. Our existing markets and their proximity to new ones translated into an opportunity to attract and recruit new talent with new skills in new geographies, which has been a very exciting process. In the last two quarters alone, we have invested more in new technologies and R&D than in all of 2017 and we have achieved significant advances in UC, CC, Cloud and AI, all of which has been driven by our commitment to the customers.”
Over the years, it has been fundamental for the company to focus on a strategy to invest in people, technology and staying really committed to customers.
Alliances for growth
Avaya observes and has maintained an extremely disciplined process and approach to assess potential strategic opportunities, whether they are acquisitions, joint ventures or other alliances. The company deems it important that the agreements that are made create new opportunities and help to accelerate the time-to-market.
Since 2011, Avaya has been making strategic acquisitions of several companies. In 2018, Avaya acquired Spoken Communications, an innovative leader in Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions and customer experience management applications based on conversational artificial intelligence (AI); and partnered with Afiniti, which is a company focused on AI development for the use in contact centers. Just a couple of months ago the company announced a deeper partnership with Cogito, which is a leader in artificial intelligence (AI) for emotional intelligence, with the objective of improving the client’s experience through joint development.
When recruiting talent, academic excellence is sought in the candidates that are being evaluated and we make sure that they possess the capabilities and skills needed for the roles they wish to fulfill, while also making sure that they can demonstrate the values of simplicity, accountability, empowerment, trust and teamwork – which are pillars of Avaya’s business culture. Last but not least, the company aims to have a diverse team in every way. To ensure a good integration into the company, each manager and supervisor makes sure to have the work tools prepared and ready to welcome the new employees.
“Each organization within the company has specific programs, for example, for the sales team we have the Sales Enablement team at the corporate and regional levels, who design the specific qualification and training curriculums for each role and job within the structure and required updates programs, per quarter and for the entire year. Using both virtual training and self-management tools, as well as conducting classroom courses to develop specific skills for each level and role,” Galib Karim explains.
Commitment and respect for the work setting
“We believe it is our responsibility to make the world a better place and we align ourselves with our employees, communities, customers, partners and suppliers to make this a reality,” says Karim.
Avaya guarantees humane and safe labor standards, environmentally responsible business practices and high ethical standards in its supply chain. The company effects positive changes in the world by adopting its technology and transforming the modern workplace in order to create an attractive, efficient and environmentally friendly work setting.
The company is highly committed to identifying risks and preventing the use of child labor, slavery and human trafficking in its commercial operations and supply chain.
Also, the company has ISO 14001 certification for its Design for the Environment Program, which is a commitment to continuously reduce its products’ environmental impacts.
Financial restructuring and a look into the future
In regards to the situation the company experienced at the beginning of 2017, Karim explains: “First of all, I want to clarify that to benefit from Chapter 11 does not mean that the company was bankrupt. Chapter 11 provides companies with legal protections and space to breathe and address the debt burden and liquidity constraints, in an organized manner and with the benefit of the supervision of a bankruptcycourt.”
Avaya evaluated a wide variety of options to address the situation related to its capital structure and to improve its balance sheet – and decided to initiate a formal debt restructuring procedure, which allowed the company to substantially even out its balance sheet and quickly emerge from Chapter 11 as a healthier company with the financial flexibility to invest in growth and innovation, create better solutions and take care of its customers’ needs.
Essentially, a new era of openness and agility has begun. Because the company has prioritized the deepest sense of commitment to customers and partners around the world, it has also intensified its focus on increasing investment in sales, marketing channels and marketing.
The company’s plans include: continuing to remain as leaders in the industry worldwide; continuing to invest in their clients, their clients’ customers and business partners; execute a competitive strategy, which has recently made them the deserving winners of the Frost & Sullivan Latin American Enterprise Communications Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award; consolidating its strong communications strategy in the cloud and maintaining a solid development program to constantly respond to the new demands of customers.
“We are really excited about our future,” concludes Galib Karim.