Interview: Hybrid workplaces are the future, says Vishal Agrawal, MD (India & Saarc), Avaya

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August 18, 2021 1:01 AM

Covid-19 has accelerated the adoption of cloud by some years as with remote working becoming the new norm.

Avaya also recently announced new capabilities for Avaya Spaces, the modern workstream collaboration (WSC) platform that offers evolved UCaaS (unified communications) capabilities via a user’s preferred device.Avaya also recently announced new capabilities for Avaya Spaces, the modern workstream collaboration (WSC) platform that offers evolved UCaaS (unified communications) capabilities via a user’s preferred device.

The pandemic has led to a huge digital transformation and how businesses operate. Organisations now are actively looking at collaboration infrastructure that will enhance both employee and customer experience, says Vishal Agrawal, managing director, India & Saarc, Avaya. “We predict that there might be deeper integrations between collaboration tools such as video, chat, file sharing, email and more,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interview. Excerpts:

How are companies planning to be digitally ready after the Covid-19 pandemic?
Covid-19 has accelerated the adoption of cloud by some years as with remote working becoming the new norm. There has been an increasing move towards consumerisation of technology and organisations are looking at every possible way to stay resilient. Organisations no longer compete on solely products or services but on the kind of experiences which are effortless, personalised, connected, and intuitive and therefore, remembered. Today, it is a competition in an experience economy with smarter, more collaborative, more agile, more connected ways to interact and engage, to drive optimal business outcomes.

What are the opportunities that Avaya sees in the Indian market?
As the world moved towards remote model, businesses had to quickly adapt to the changing scenario. While large organisations were able to make that shift quickly; SMBs gradually but steadily paved their way to cloud adoption. Also, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is unleashing a new approach towards customer experience (CX) strategy, design, and development. Brands are already in the run to deploy AI, ML amalgamated with cloud to access insights and automate campaigns and processes.

In this new age of ‘Everything Customer’, as stated by Gartner, organisations are already looking for ‘Total Experience’ strategies to create effortless experiences across touchpoints. Avaya has been forecasting these developments and with Covid-19 accelerating the adoption of cloud, we have witnessed an increased collaboration wherein we have helped over two million people to work remotely though the unprecedented times of the pandemic.

How do you plan to make the Indian workforce digitally ready?
Avaya’s contact centre business performed well during the previous quarter over the past few years, and with a focus on cloud-based AI, we aim to further consolidate our positioning among other players. Avaya has partnered with Microsoft to improve enterprise customer experience and contact centre performance through integration of Avaya’s offerings on Microsoft’s Azure platform. In the same line, the partnership with Google, Avaya AI conversation services and Google Cloud CC AI are providing a better experience for clients by seamlessly blending automated and assisted experiences throughout a customer’s interaction with the contact centre.

Avaya also recently announced new capabilities for Avaya Spaces, the modern workstream collaboration (WSC) platform that offers evolved UCaaS (unified communications) capabilities via a user’s preferred device. The AI-enhanced meetings, integrated voice and video calling powered by Avaya OneCloud CPaaS (communications platform as a service) can now extend existing on-premise calling technology with Avaya Spaces.

What are the key trends that will drive the collaboration and communication market?
Since cloud adoption is crucial for business in the new norm, organisations will switch to subscription-based model instead of making large capital investments in the technology, also known as infrastructure. Two, there will be increased focus on audio and video quality given the number of meetups, interactions and seminars will take place virtually. Three, cloud adoption will lead to enhanced procedures and seamless workflows. We predict that there might be deeper integrations between collaboration tools such as video, chat, file sharing, email and more. Four, hybrid is the future of workplace with more and more organisations in India providing flexibility and remote working opportunities to their employees.

How is Avaya positioned vis-à-vis the competition in the Indian market?
Avaya has updated its communication and collaboration architecture to align with the comprehensive portfolio under the Avaya OneCloud name which is split up into three core solution areas—Avaya OneCloud CCaaS, Avaya OneCloud UCaaS, and Avaya OneCloud CPaaS. Under the OneCloud umbrella, customers will see us providing value propositions focused on the digital workplace and the future of customer experience. Therefore, with almost 80% of the collaboration market Avaya is helping businesses from various verticals such as IT, healthcare, BFSI and education.

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