Avaya creates new company, Zang, with cloud communication and app-as-a-service platform

Mo Nezarati, the founder and CEO of Richmond Hill ON-based Esna, which Avaya acquired last year, has been named the GM of Zang, which was created as a separate company because its business model is radically different from Avaya’s. There will be channel opportunities though, and Zang is developing a channel program.


Gary E. Barnett, SVP and GM, Avaya Engagement Solutions

At Enterprise Connect 2016 in Orlando, Avaya announced Zang, a combined cloud communications platform and communication applications- as-a-service designed to make it possible for developers to quickly build and deploy applications that communications-enable consumer or enterprise applications and services.

“There are two real megatrends in the industry around communications,” said Gary E. Barnett, SVP and GM, Avaya Engagement Solutions. “One is increasing use of case-driven requirements, where companies have specific things they are trying to solve and they want to know how they will be solved with communications. This requires the applications adapt to the businesses themselves. The second trend is that this has to be done very quickly and to the specifications of the customer.

Barnett stated that 79 per cent of IT teams are currently developing apps for their customers, and that lines of businesses want very strong tools as these applications are developed.

“This is an application-to-person market, and highly unique for business, and is the exact market Zang is targeted for,” he said. “Zang is a brand new company with a new category of communications platform as-a-service. It is also an application platform-as-a-service. It also includes the industry’s strongest development platform to develop these.”

Mo Nezarati, who came to Avaya when Esna, the Richmond Hill ON-based company he founded and led was acquired last year, has been named Zang’s General Manager. Esna made real-time collaboration and communications software to accelerate adoption of communications-enabled applications, by permitting easy access to multi-vendor communications capabilities like voice, video, IM/presence, conferencing and messaging from within cloud-based business apps. Nezerati said that Zang is a combination of technologies that were both originally developed by Esna, and which have been subsequently developed by Avaya since the acquisition.

Mo Nezarati Avaya

Mo Nezerati, Zang’s General Manager

“All of its services are available on a pay-as-you-go basis,” Nezarati said. “It is platform-agnostic on how we take solutions to market, and is also integrating other cloud applications. We will have integration with other cloud infrastructure solutions like Salesforce, Google and Microsoft.”

Hundreds of applications have already been built on Zang, which include business apps, consumer apps, or canned applications with anywhere from one to thousands of users, using easy to use drag and drop tools, pre-built applications and robust APIs. Developers can use Zang apps with other communications apps like Cisco Spark, Skype for Business, and Google Hangouts.

“The canned applications include a number of communications ones, like Zang Spaces, an out-of-the box application to help teams get work done in an always-on workspace,” Nezarati said. “It takes a different twist from the rest of the market in that it is video in real-time-first rather than text-first.”

Barnett said the heavy consumer focus led to the decision to set up Zang as a separate company.

We think consumer applications will be a large part of Zang’s growth, which is very different from traditional Avaya, which is a B2B company,” he said. “That’s why we feel having Zang as a separate company and second go-to-market motion is very important. We believe that Zang will be the vehicle that allows all these developers of hundreds of thousands of applications to very easily communications-enable every single one.”

None of this intimates that there will be channel opportunities in this, but there will be, Nezarati said.

“The GTM strategy will use a combination of a typical self-serve cloud business – online sign up and use – as well as a channel program,” he stated. “Zang is creating its channel program now, but we expect it to be a major part of the GTM strategy.”

The Zang communications platform is available now in the U.S., and later at some point this year in Canada.