Lean Avaya embodies a stronger collaboration story: Vishal Agrawal, India MD

An Integrated collaboration strategy with video at the core is strategic for every organization, says Vishal Agrawal, MD at Avaya India.

Avaya sports a new look in the year of 2017 after the communications vendor sold its networking business to Extreme Networks. IDG India spoke to Vishal Agrawal, Managing Director (India and SAARC), Avaya who believes that CC and UC will have blurred lines with the consumerisation of IT across enterprises. Our big focus at new Avaya rallies on the customer experience and collaboration for enterprises on their digital transformation wave says Vishal.

Edited Excerpts.

What is the core focus on the new Avaya after it sold off its networking business and how are you targeting India market?

“The demarcation between collaboration and customer experience will become thinner as enterprises evolve in their digital journey and Avaya will play a vital role in that direction.”

Vishal Agrawal

MD India & SAARC, Avaya

Avaya’s recent announcement in is line with our continued focus on the customer experience and collaboration of the enterprises and also accelerate the wave of digitization. If you talk about customer experience, the modern consumers are becoming more matured in the market with respect to what they expect from the companies.

India is witnessing two significant changes. The technology adoption is happening at multiple layers with the adoption of mobility, the penetration of broadband, 4G era, smartphone and India is now one of the biggest consumer of WhatsApp. Younger generation prefers chat to talk on phone as an example. Also multiple communication channels are at different levels due to wide demographics in country like India.  Another rapid change is the fact that the consumers are becoming more informed and knowledgeable as they have ready accessibility to information due to internet adoption.

Where both things come together the customer experience will become the bigger differentiation for organizations in terms of their growth, customer retention, cross reference and reference, loyalty. Avaya is accelerating the customer experience journey as the technology move into consumerisation mode. The customers will define how they want to consume technology seamlessly as they switch across channels and media, that’s where Avaya will help the customers’ transformation journey.

With these big changes in technology world, how do see Contact Centre and Unified Collaboration change over time?

We see the era of UC and CC collapse faster as technology becomes more consumerised across enterprises. The demarcation lines between Collaboration and Customer traction will become thinner as companies evolve in their digital journey and Avaya will play in the role in that direction.

Video will be an intrinsic part of collaboration suite for a modern company.

We have launched Oceania which is a purpose-built single omnichannel solution delivering complete integration and management of company’s traditional phone and digital channels. The Avaya Oceana Solution lets you personalize every step and possibility of customer interactions with your company. Avaya Oceanalytics Insights breaks down the silos around traditional analytics tools to fuel real-time, smarter decision making, to drive customer satisfaction and improve customer loyalty.

The customer experience journey is enhanced by the collaboration platform Avaya Equinox Experience that makes communication simpler, transparent, in context, and user defined. Avaya is redefining UC to engage, respond, and share through the applications, browsers, and devices that people use every day.

We have developed a complete middleware that allows business apps to talk. Avaya Vantage Device allows companies to engage using an innovative, dedicated desktop device for voice, chat, and collaboration apps through one-touch connections.

Avaya would be leading organization to transform the customers in terms of customers experience and collaboration. We have a tremendous focus on integrating service, integrating differ tech, integrating differ apps and putting more apps and communication workloads on the cloud.

Vishal’s Bucket List for CIOs 

Adopt an integrated collaboration journey with a multi-channel approach.

Deploy real time analytics for the data collected at each customer’s touch point.

Opt for scalable platform that integrates mobility etc seamlessly to IT infra.

Ruminate younger workforce that use modern communication tools like chat, social.

Explore technologies across BUs step-by-step than the ‘big-bang’ approach.

Be open to new ideas and innovation than the fixed traditional approach.

Don't over depend on a single vendor but collaborate with ‘best-in-breed’ technologies.

What will be the road ahead for the existing customers on Avaya heritage networking appliances? How do you intend to cater to the new organizations?

As per the agreement, the existing customers will transition to the new company (that acquired Avaya networking business) and we are conscious about the pending commitments with them (if any) which we will fulfill.

There will be both sets of customers for new Avaya. The existing customers are embracing our new roadmap as we had a great response to roadshow across seven cities in India attended by customers and channel partners.  The contact center industry that started as a complete customer issue handling mechanism has matured into a 360-degree customer experience. The customers are in different stages of improving their customer experience strategy as we work with them including strong installed base over the years. 

There will also be newer markets opening up to adopt digitization. The scale does not matter as even small organization is concerned about ensuring great customer experience to help them create good will and expand their business.

The existing customers will go through the digital transformation through the new solutions in the market. But I see more interest in mid-market, commercial and startups who are launching new products and services to have differentiated customer experience and collaboration solutions for their customers.

What are the painpoints of modern CIOs and CTOs with respect to the customer experience of their products and services?

The common thread of pain point for most CIOs and CTOs of Indian companies is providing a seamless experience of communication for the customers across various channels. What happens if the end customer flips the channel from phone to chat or mobile to video conferencing?  CIOs wants to have a robust omni channel IT infra for that seamless transition.

The second biggest concern for companies is the right usage of the tons of information collected at different touch points of their customers. CIOs want to use all that information collected through the website, telephone, award, chat, WhatsApp, social and effectively grow their business revenues. Many of them are now accumulating information and applying real time analytics to get more context around customer type, deliver customer experience and thus generate more revenues.

What about the evolution of video as the main bucket of UC in new IT landscape. Is video conferencing moving more towards mobility?

Video conferencing will grow in a big way. But the end point game will reduce the need for board room based conferencing will reduce more.

The adoption of virtual offices in India will eventually increase as today most people are not culturally inclined to this work format. Also, the current infrastructure across many Indian cities does not allow much help beyond a point but high-speed network and 4G adoption will see virtual offices sprawl. People will work on the commute, through mobiles and tablets as they expand their mobile usage and applications for their professional work.

I seriously foresee video to play the big role than ever as it is the closest mode of interaction than physical human interaction. Avaya’s Equinox platform equinox puts all the collaboration tools together which helps the customers to flip through the various communication channels. Multiple users can share contacts, presentation seamlessly in real-time. The video will not be as a separate model of communication as a conference room for special VC meeting broadcast will phase out. The video will be an intrinsic part of collaboration suite for a modern company.

But bandwidth, especially in rural parts in India, is a serious concern for seamless customer experience. How is Avaya riding the cloud wave?

Avaya Scopia Desktop and Mobile Applications enables Face-to-Face Collaboration on mobile and desktop. And it also works on low bandwidth like 384KBps.

5 Big Verticals for Avaya India

Public Utility Services





The bandwidth coverage is improving in India as we are very keen for the new collaboration platform and Equinox for this market. The customer will have a choice to chat than do video conferencing in a noisy area. Hence a technology provider cannot determine or define which mode the customer will prefer at any given point of time. Hence Avaya empowers companies with a unified platform rather than video as a separate mode of communication.

We are working on both – cloud for contact center and cloud for video. We are launching cloud for CC soon. We are reinvigorating the roadmap as we see the cloud for the video to pick soon. Cloud for CC might have data privacy and other issues. Public cloud will be more for small enterprises whereas the enterprisers will consider data privacy and other issues.

Which industry verticals in India will witness the enhanced need for collaboration and communication tools?

Emergency response systems like dial 100 and public utility services like healthcare, the fire department will undergo a huge transformation with cutting edge technologies that track, recording the events through multi channels. Healthcare and education are other verticals that will see the usage of communication and collaboration to next level. The new age concepts like e-commerce, ‘pay-as-you-use’ models will get more acceptance.

Analytics will be our bread and butter as that’s one of the biggest pain points across channels is the huge amount of data. Avaya provides a lot of analytics to the customers as we move ahead and also integrate with other technology solutions. The market has shifted from post mortem analytics to real time analytics.

We are working on IoT in UC space. Avaya is communications platform that facilitates human to human engagement, human to machine and other combinations. Whenever the company needs new technologies, Avaya has the requisite offerings to facilitate seamless IoT solutions.