Avaya’s cloud strategy in the past could never be described as crisp, but major changes were announced at Engage to change that, with new OneCloud branding and ReadyNow enterprise bundles to bring solutions to market quickly.
AUSTIN – At Avaya Engage here on Monday, Avaya continued to unfold its cloud strategy, announcing a new private cloud delivery model for both Unified Communications as a Service [UCaaS] and Contact Center as a Service [CCaaS] offerings. While Avaya has sold both of these in the private cloud before, what is new here is speed and time to value. The new bundles will make it possible for Avaya and their channel partners to provide easily repeatable solutions much more quickly than before, without the need for customization.
“Our cloud was business was $330 million in 2018 – 11-12 per cent of our total revenues, said Jim Chirico, Avaya’s CEO. “Our strategic goal is to get that number up to 25 per cent by 2021. “We believe the private cloud will play a key role there, especially the OneCloud ReadyNow initiative that we are announcing.”
One of the fruits of Avaya’s new simplified branding strategy, which focuses on more functional product names, ReadyNow is literally designed to be Ready Now, providing preconfigured, per-seat standard bundles that can be quickly deployed as a Proof-of-Concept [POC], and then swiftly redeployed as a production environment.
“We had private cloud before, but it was a custom solution we had to put together,” said Gaurav Passi, Avaya’s recently-named President, Avaya Cloud Business Group, who came over to the company from Five9. “ReadyNow is ready now.”
ReadyNow is aimed primarily at the enterprise market.
“Millions of dollars were spent to deliver this technology,” Passi said. “You can take this technology and do a POC within a week, and then implement it within days, as the same POC stack moves to production. We are super-excited about that. It provides an enterprise grade, global delivery model, with seamless delivery and time to market, that takes less than a month to get an enterprise fully up on a private cloud for both UCaaS and CCaaS. Cloud solutions have to be elastic, and this gives them the flexibility of the private cloud option, without it taking months.”
“This new private cloud delivery model is all about simplicity,” said Mike Kuch, Senior Director Solutions Marketing at Avaya. “We’ve had private cloud for a while, but this makes it easier for ordering, delivery and consumption. It’s not about lower pricing. Pricing won’t necessarily be less. But it will involve base packaging with set prices which people will know upfront, and there is an option to customize.”
ReadyNow is part of the OneCloud initiative – also announced Monday and itself an exercise in the new straightforward branding.
“Avaya OneCloud lets customers implement cloud the way they want it to be implemented – public, hybrid or private cloud,” Passi said.
Passi set OneCloud and ReadyNow within the context of Avaya’s fuller cloud strategy, which began before his arrival, under his predecessor.
“We had a singular focus for Avaya, to become a cloud leader in the industry, period,” Passi emphasized in his keynote to Avaya customers. “We are very bullish about the ability of this company to transform the cloud – and to do cloud at that scale. We have 3.5 million seats in the cloud today out of Avaya’s 140 million seats, and the goal is to have 25 per cent of the seats in the cloud by 2021.”
“If we moved just 10 per cent of those in the next three years that would be 14 million,” Chirico said. In the enterprise, migration of the existing install base rather than picking up net new logos is the main focus, while new customers are seen as a more viable strategy in the midmarket and the SMB.
Passi said that while the cloud numbers today aren’t huge, they are something to build on.
“When I joined, I thought this would be ground zero and everything else would need to be built,” Passi said. “But we already have a $350 million cloud business, and 3600 customers, with 64 with more than a million dollars in the cloud. Those numbers are compelling. It’s a great start that we have.”
In the enterprise, Passi stated that Avaya will help customers evolve and embrace cloud, to overcome its issues with the model, especially around trust and security, with OneCloud giving a choice of different options and strategies to migrate.
“We will also aggressively compete in midmarket, not just the enterprise,” he told customers. “We have heard this from all of you. The key is simplicity, and that will be my theme.” Partner enablement is also critical for this part of the market, and the desire to double UCaaS seats to 40,000 in 2019.
Passi also stressed a more aggressive international strategy, with expansion now underway in Germany, and India and Japan in the near future.
“In our strategic cloud ecosystem relationships, we are doing the hard work of joint developments with the ecosystem,” he said. At Engage so far, Avaya has announced new cloud-focused partnerships with FatPipe Networks and ACS Technologies around Avaya IX Mobility [the rebranded Avaya Mobile Experience], with Verint around Workforce Engagement Management for the Cloud, and with Slack, with a new Virtual Assistant for Slack integration.
“The portfolio simplification will be a critical part of our thinking going forward,” Passi said. “No one is talking about getting technology today, but about solving business problems. It’s the end-to-end journey they are asking for. Our task is how best to remove all the complexity of the past, and make this all simple and fun.”
Avaya is emphasizing new initiatives like their revamped online storefront strategy they announced in December, which will be partner-focused, particularly through the Master Agent channel Avaya added last year, although at the present time, it is focused on the U.S., and isn’t yet in Canada, where the Master Agent system from the telco industry is not as widespread as it is in the U.S.
“The storefront is in the category of simplification,” said Laurent Philonenko, Avaya’s SVP for Innovation. “It helps our channel partners take leads and work more quickly than the traditional process.”
“Avaya IX – simple intelligent experiences – all starts with a storefront,” Passi said. “The pricing needs to be simple. It’s not just product and technology, and that’s where the storefront comes in.”
“Before, when we didn’t have a storefront, solution providers would use a competitor for this,” Chirico explained. “Our partners can actually make more money with it. We can become a one-stop shop with it, so we think it’s an important step forward. It also helps us get into the master agent community, which is quite large. We’ve worked with our master agents, and a number of top traditional partners throughout the globe to define this. We don’t think that this is a conflict at all with our traditional partner base. We think it improves revenues, and helps them with recurring revenues.”
Daniel Silverman, the President of Telanet, a Toronto-headquartered telecommunications service provider and Avaya partner, thinks that the new cloud strategy is a step forward.
“I think that the new model makes sense,” he said. “There has been confusion with Avaya’s ability in the cloud space to deliver a clean road map, with so many offerings coming together. This simplification is probably the best way to go, with OneCloud tying everything together.”