Like many large IT companies, Avaya has faced a mammoth transition in recent years. President and CEO Kevin Kennedy talks to Information Age about how to survive in the new world of communications
We’ve heard about Avaya’s recent transformation, predominantly its shift form hardware to engagement. Most people are talking about a move to services – why have you chosen to emphasise engagement?
We merged from what was a traditional voice to unified communications and now what? The ‘what’ is first about mobility, second about being open – which is really quite a departure from the past of telecommunications – and third is this notion of engagement, which really means that the enterprise is about making decisions. It’s active, action-oriented, and is all about what you do with communications. So we focused the company on those three words.
How is this affecting your portfolio directly?
A little known fact is about 80% of all the software that we ship connects up mobile apps on phones, verses hard devices like conference phones. So we are very much – in terms of our customer mix – connecting up mobility-based enterprise works. The second is we actually invented a piece of software that’s really a middleware, much like WebSphere was for IBM or Weblogic was for BEA, which was eventually bought by Oracle. It allows lots of different forms of communication or applications to coexists in an engagement environment. So we can take social media, we integrate Google Apps and Lync and all sorts of things, verses a one-size-fits-all from one vendor. That was really the anchor point to becoming an open company – the middleware.