Avaya: Transformational UC Experience

Gary E. Barnett, SVP & GM, Engagement Solutions Unified Communications is a cornerstone of any enterprise transformation. As more and more companies embark on their digital transformation journey, they need to rethink their UC strategies. Whether the team is in the contact center, traveling, or working from a remote location, a true team engagement solution has to offer a seamless experience across the myriad devices and channels. “Organizations have to move away from traditional solutions if they want to compete and succeed in the age of intelligence,” elucidates Gary E. Barnett, SVP & GM, Engagement Solutions, Avaya.

Recognizing the trends of today and tomorrow, Avaya empowers communication across the enterprise by giving UC solutions a true “mobile first” attribute to transform how, why, and when employees communicate with customers, partners, vendors, suppliers and each other. Combining more than 100 years of expertise and innovation inside its walls, Avaya presents the best-rounded UC and contact center solutions today. By embracing the ever-changing nature of the industry, it allows companies to capitalize on the vast availability of current, historical, and predictive information that is finally accessible in the new age of intelligence.

With its extensive range of products and services, Avaya caters to a global clientele across a multitude of verticals in the private and government sector. With more than 28,000 companies leveraging its APIs and open platforms, “Avaya is leading the evolution from traditional UC to transformational UC. Our crown jewel in transformational UC is Avaya Equinox—designed to help enterprises keep team engagement at the forefront of their own enterprise digital transformations,” states Barnett.

Redefining UC: Equinox

Equinox helps companies improve employee engagement and collectively push their business forward by enabling analytics across the enterprise. Needless to say, Avaya is truly delivering on the promise of a transformational UC solution here.

"Without a transformational team engagement solution like Avaya Equinox, an enterprise’s digital transformation will not be complete"

“Avaya Equinox can mean the difference between business transformation and simply feature advancements,” states Barnett. The strength of the Equinox platform lies in its openness and interoperability, providing seamless integration between UC and contact center applications and supporting the Bring Your Own Applications (BYOA) concept. According to Barnett, “CIOs are not only thinking about turnkey but also about development tools for those apps. Just like in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), CIOs are expected to support a growing number of applications that enter the enterprise.”

In order for UC to truly exist, companies must begin to see the bigger picture. According to Barnett, a true team engagement solution cannot exist without pervasive analytics across the entire enterprise. Regardless of where a team is engaged or what device and channel they are using to communicate, analytical reports should not be separated by departments, but rather provide a holistic view of the entire team. “Unified communications is team engagement,” asserts Barnett.
“Without a transformational team engagement solution like Avaya Equinox, an enterprise’s digital transformation will not be complete. As a result, the enterprise will not be technically ready to maximize the value of the newer technologies and capabilities available in the Age of Intelligence, such as artificial intelligence, analytics and automation.”

Bringing it All Together

Just as employees have been challenged to work with team engagement applications that are not the latest and greatest, contact center agents have also quietly dealt with cobbled together desktops that force them to click through as many as 18 different applications during one customer service call. The notion of ‘one-and-done’ (one phone call, no transfers, problem solved) in the contact center isn’t always true from an agent experience perspective. “Any contact center, no matter how large or small, is mission-critical and one of the most complex areas of any business,” states Barnett. So, when Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE), one of the world’s leading ownership, entertainment, and management groups, came to Avaya for a solution, they came through with a complete set of solutions that enhanced their internal productivity and marketing efforts, giving a seamless experience to their fans and sponsors. Hosting more than 200 games and events alike on an annual basis at Pepsi Center alone, KSE’s 1,200 employees continuously work to bring fans to events and deliver an unforgettable experience.

Avaya Equinox can mean the difference between business transformation and basic feature advancements

In order to provide a world-class experience for the fans with their in-home HD screens, as well as unified communications for the business, KSE needed a network infrastructure capable of handling their extremely high current as well as future requirements. Avaya’s virtual network solution, Fabric Connect, gave KSE a secure network foundation for virtualization, mobility, and video. With the easy-to-manage new network design, they now seamlessly run a number of solutions, including Wi-Fi throughout venues and unified communications in support of all their business operations.

The network’s elasticity significantly cuts down the time needed to configure the technology for diverse events, hence increasing their ROI. After a 12-month period, KSE generated six-figures in new revenue from in-app ads alone. Through the Avaya Aura platform, KSE’s sales reps have customer information right at their fingertips. This reduces lag time between calls and gives them a better foundation for maximizing their time. Moreover, with Avaya Fanalytics, KSE provided more targeted marketing to fans and sponsors to improve social engagement. The cloud-based software platform visualizes the fan engagement data and creates an optimized buying zone to make the most out of any event, hence tying the fan experience and marketing together.

“The next step for us is continuing to push the boundaries of experience,” explained Rick Schoenhals, Vice President of IT at Kroenke Sports and Entertainment. “We believe in Avaya. We believe they have forward looking products that understand what business is trying to do.”

Accelerating Digital Transformation

Over the course of last year, Avaya has completely transformed their business, with 75 percent of their current portfolio now accounting for software and services. Supported by their strong commitment to open, standards-based architecture, this process resulted in greater agility, faster-time-to-market, high scalability, and flexibility.
“Enterprises are learning that contact center functionality and capabilities are of great value to the entire enterprise,” explains Barnett. “Whether contact center or unified communications, companies invest heavily in communications, and so do we.” Having always been committed to openness, standards, agility, and scalability, Barnett points out the willpower inside the organization to embrace the innovation coming from outside.

That being said, in February Avaya launched Avaya Oceana available as a Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) ideal for BPOs, SIs, and virtually any size contact center that wants to leverage the power of cloud. Providing a broad option of cloud solutions that can meet the needs of any business, this solution has been proven successful straight out the gate, with more than 40,000 agents using it already. Furthermore, by maintaining an architecture that allows customers to have all the applications they need for customization, Avaya has formed a technology partner ecosystem called DevConnect. It has drawn some of the biggest technology leaders in the world.

Today, DevConnect has more than 29,000 Registered Companies, 400 of which have been designated as DevConnect Technology Partners who build and market technology solutions for customers running on Avaya platforms. The fact that 500 new solutions are compliance-tested to prove interoperability with Avaya each year speaks volumes about the importance of the program. This stands as a testament of how much Avaya truly invests in developing solutions and making sure they are of the highest standard.

Providing the Difference

When it comes to highest standards, Avaya Breeze is raising the bar. As the core development platform for every customer and team engagement solution the company is building, Breeze is a single, integrated environment. It provides the capabilities that extend across team and customer engagement, analytics and communications platforms allowing applications to be built that reflect real business processes and customer requirements, not technology silos. Scalability, high availability, virtualization, application management, provisioning, and security are all built into the platform. Developers are free to focus on solving business complexity, not application delivery and management challenges.

Another popular demand among customers is securely easing the process of moving from voice to video, as well as chat-to-video conferencing. Security is incredibly important in today’s data-driven world, and it is equally important in all communications—whether person to person, person to machine, machine to machine—security is essential. Through Session Border Controller, Avaya increases the remote security for any employee on any device and supports the BYOD movement without requiring VPN connections while enhancing mobility. “It’s about injecting secure UC capabilities in the applications, browsers, and devices that people use every day,” comments Barnett. With quarterly releases of products, Avaya always brings in transformational solutions just at the right time, ensuring that the world inside the contact center and the world of Avaya are one and the same.

Leading the Evolution

Barnett points out their innovation track as part of the company’s product lifecycle process. While most companies cautiously approach the lifecycle by bringing safe products into the process, Avaya gives engineers and product managers the funding and time they need to explore highly disruptive ideas that they otherwise would not be able to explore. “As a company that embraces evolution, we are constantly driving our focus toward innovation to adapt to the changing trends in team and customer engagement. The one-and-done, click-to-collaborate generation of cloud-empowered, mobile employees is here to stay, and Avaya is readily leading the way,” concludes Barnett.


Santa Clara, CA

Gary E. Barnett, SVP & GM, Engagement Solutions

Provides business collaboration and communications solutions with a plethora of software and services for multi-touch contact centers and unified communications.