Tell us what made you join Avaya after Microsoft and what is your agenda in the company
I joined Avaya because I wanted to work with a company which provided me a lot of headroom to grow the business it is in and take it to the next level. Moreover, I was looking for an organisation which has strong credentials in the market. This meant that either the firm is the technology leader or it is a fierce competitor which was eying the number one spot. Avaya is definitely a leader in unified communications and the contact centres space worldwide. I found Avaya perfect for the three parameters I was looking for: technology leadership, big headroom to grow, and the market space which the company is in is a fast emerging technology.
Interestingly the UC market in India is at its nascent stage and is expected to grow tremendously in the next few years. It is great to have competition in the market place as it makes the environment more vibrant. When I joined Avaya, one of the priority items on the agenda was to take the business to the next level and to find ways to do that. While there are many things that I will have to keep in mind to drive Avayas growth in India, one critical consideration is to see how we are covering the market. The second priority is to prepare the organisation for the large mid-market opportunity when the technology starts penetrating this segment.
What is your go-to-market strategy for the mid-market
I firmly believe that there is a lot more that we can do for our market coverage model. This does not mean increasing the number of people in a particular city and each place; but it includes finding ways of leveraging the existing coverage which is through a partner system and expanding it, not incrementally but significantly across the board. It means that if we are in the top 16 cities, we should be able to further cover at least about 30-40 cities across the board.
Today we are present in about eight cities. We have offices in New Delhi, along will all the metros, including Kolkata, Pune, Ahmedabad, and we have Hyderabad and Chennai. With these eight cities we are able to cover about 30 more cities. Also, while we have a robust partner ecosystem across the board, it can definitely be much bigger than it currently is, with greater coverage.
We believe that the mid-market sector will be the next growth driver for Avaya as we are yet to penetrate the market fully. While technology adoption has happened at the top with big enterprises but, the adoption is yet to materialise downstream.
At present, how many customers does Avaya have in the mid-market space
Currently, the number of customers Avaya services in the mid-market is relatively small. The market has not really opened up and there are all unlocked systems which mid-market organisations use. For example, they might have an old PBX system just for communication and use e-mail in most cases. The issue is that the various communication tools that are being used are fragmented. The PC penetration is there but they do not have the communication piece right. They may not even have a communication strategy or a unified communication strategy and that is something that these organisations are looking at for growth.
How does unified communications strategy in an organisation work
UC comprises of different levels of communication, including verbal, written and visual. Employees can communicate through video, voice and chat. So if an organisation brings all this together, that is unified communications. Today, most of the communication is either voice-based or email based whereby the voice based communication is more analogue than digital. In voice there are either old PST lines, internet telephony or voice over internet protocol (VoIP). VoIP takes communication to the next level using the internet bandwidth to communicate. This internet telephony or voice over IP is the biggest growth opportunity especially within the mid-market segment.
Is bring your own device (BYOD) a part of UC
While BYOD is not a part of UC, it enables UC to a greater extent. This concept is called consumerisation of IT. It means that todays workers want flexibility to use any device of their choice rather than what is given by the company.
Avaya provides solutions on all platforms or all devices which is mobile, iPad and PC. So when BYOD is allowed within the organisation, Avaya solutions will work on all devices. Therefore when a company decides to allow people to bring their own devices, we provide our solutions on all those devices to make it easier for them to continue working as earlier. Therefore this enables BYOD to become more pervasive because we allow that to happen.
At what rate has Avayas mid-market segment been growing for the organisation
It is the fastest growing segment. The base is small but its relative to the market. Its the fastest growing segment for us and will continue to be in the next 3-5 years. Overall, mid-market is a sweet spot for the entire industry.