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Research and Business Relevant Approaches: A Balancing Act

By Brett Shockley, SVP & CIO, Avaya

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Brett Shockley, SVP & CIO, Avaya

From a product and solution development perspective, given the communication and collaboration space, unified communications, contact centre, mobility, BYOD and mobile videos are all revolutionizing the industrial trends this time. According to statistics, about 40 percent of enterprise users spend 20 percent time away from their desk place. This is an alarming report for technology enterprises as we look for ways to provide applications for them.   

There are indeed a number of interesting things doing the rounds in applications perspective. It is possible to run ten different applications/devices registered with the same ID and phone number and as a result I use a phone on a static place like my desk but also run applications on remote places according to my need. It is as simple as I attend a conference call on my flight through a video and thus keep time and track of my work throughout.

Multi channel Communication-Customers’ Wish list

According to reports about 78 percent of the customers wished to communicate to companies via multiple channels and out of which only 17 percent reviewed their response to be well and the other 65 percent intend to start fresh. As a result, we at Avaya have been focusing on activities for research involving big data and predictive analytics at our support center. It is a stepwise approach as one goes through our website for self-service, escalate it to an automated chat with our knowledge base, and so gather a human response through the web browser and what one gets in the end is a video conversation at the browsers comfort. The tool of analytics is certainly on the wish list of the enabler as one learns to manage the data and not only restricting it for operational reporting but also to use the large database, by converting unstructured data into structured data, manage people and processes associated with it. From an IT perspective, historically most of the technology decisions have to be driven through IT.

The term Cloud is impacting both the technology and is also changing the dynamics of the way companies acquire technology. With increase in cloud based models, business leaders have started to make decisions based on the capacity, for instance whether to fund the IT budget to cater the needs or to bypass IT and look for the next generation cloud based service.

As cloud is answering to the woes and challenges of the industry, there are still a lot of opportunities in terms of collaboration and unified communications which makes it a really interesting space. Though the industry has really done well in terms of unified communication, the ability to predict business processes becomes imperative and now through predictive analytics, as some of these processes turn out to be automated, the fact that people’s perspective remains as the key industry relevance and thus delivering to the people on what they need thereby cutting out on enterprise complexities.

Accelerating Commercialization Of Innovation

Our team at Avaya through its corporate strategy group, corporate development group, M&A and CTO consulting team focuses on consumers in helping them plan through multi strategies and technology architectures to achieve transformations that sometimes take years to execute. While the Avaya labs research team drives forward thinking research in communication and collaboration in contact centre apps, the emerging products and technology group bridges research with real world customer requirements. This involves accelerating commercialization of innovation, where customer gets the benefits to their business and grant for access to technology before their competitors and so gives them an advantage above others. The challenge is to balance between researches on one end and be business relevant on the other, how to make technology more relevant to them to address to their critical business problems. It is always a balancing act and it is the challenge in the forefront.

Challenges drive innovations and thus at Avaya, driving innovations is a thoughtful process to combat to the pain points of the industrial needs. We have our research team working with universities, colleges and other organizations to develop new ideas. We have an open approach for innovation as we have direct customer interaction on their business needs, as we bring in customer feedbacks, promote co-innovation as we give our customers access to technology which helps them get what they want. It so provides us an opportunity to make real world validations. It is a deliberate approach to take innovation, test it, validate it with real customers and scale it to global success. Out of the 100 new products delivered last year to the market, a significant amount of those were through innovations.

As we became private six years ago, two-third of our revenue came from the hardware services, now we have the same number clocking through our software services. This is evident as a result of our strive to be innovative and it really takes us to be in this position as a software driven business.

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