Genesys, Avaya Rumor Provokes Conversation
True or not, speculation that Genesys has its eye on Avaya's contact center business is a hot topic among industry watchers.
In an article posted late Friday afternoon, Reuters stated that contact center application provider Genesys "is in talks to acquire the contact center business that its peer Avaya ... is hoping to sell for more than $4 billion." Reuters said its sources asked not to be identified because the negotiations are confidential, and understandably Genesys and Avaya declined to comment. Several paragraphs into the story came the caveat, "Genesys is one of many companies and private equity firms that have contacted Avaya about a potential deal, and there is no certainty that it will successfully negotiate a deal."
As I do with other contact center industry news, I posted the story to LinkedIn and tweeted it out. Generally, I don't receive comments on my LinkedIn posts, and Twitter analytics shows on average a 1% engagement level (likes, retweets, link clicks, etc.) on my tweets.
Over a summer weekend, however, the Genesys/Avaya rumor generated both quantifiable and qualitatively different results. As of mid-Monday morning, my tweet had an 11.4% engagement level, with people commenting, clicking through to find out more, and tweeting out the news to their own social networks.
Late Friday night, for example, Tod Famous, director of product management for Cisco contact center, retweeted my post with a comment that perhaps the biggest contact center news right now is who is NOT for sale... namely the Cisco contact center business. This is a not-too-veiled reference to last week's story that Interactive Intelligence is exploring M&A options, and as seen in the screenshot below, Famous' comment generated its own whirl of social activity.
On LinkedIn, my post received 33 "Likes," and a flurry of comments from contact center consultants and IT execs from Fortune 500 and Global 2000 companies. Without the constraint of Twitter's 140 characters, the LinkedIn comments are more comprehensive. One commenter, Kevin C. Brown, managing director at VoxPeritus, captured several of the salient issues:
"There still are many Genesys on top of Avaya deployments out there. Seems that there have been a fair amount of Avaya going to pure Genesys, Genesys on top of Cisco, or pure Cisco. This play would capture the second two migration prospects. Technical integration wouldn't be tough, but product and organizational integration would have to be fast and brutal to prevent alienating current customers, and pushing fence sitters over to Cisco. However, this wouldn't do anything to progress the move to cloud as both companies have big challenges in front of them to move to even plain old hosted, let alone cloud delivery. IMHO Genesys is ahead but has a long way to go. This appears to be more of a buying a market share play to me, if true."
I disagree on his point that technical integration wouldn't be tough. It seems to imply that the Genesys and Avaya technologies would continue to work together as they have in the past. But as he earlier pointed out, "a fair amount of Avaya" has been replaced with pure Genesys. While many of the mega contact centers built 10 or 15 years ago depended on multiple vendors, enterprises are generally looking to consolidate to as few as possible when they do technology refreshes.
I agree with Brown about a deal like this being more about buying market share than it is about technology. Over the past four years, Genesys has worked on building a single customer experience platform that, unlike its vintage 1990s solution, does not require an underlying PBX platform. That said, some Avaya technology assets, such as predictive dialing, could add to the overall Genesys CX platform.
In terms of Genesys/Avaya and the cloud, I agree that while Genesys is ahead, both companies have a way to go. The benefit of a combination would be that instead of two R&D teams working on two different solutions, just one team would be working on one platform. And that's where the value of market consolidation comes in.