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Avaya Analyst Conference Update? Why was Avaya so Quiet?

Just back from the annual Avaya analyst conference in Boston, I was wondering why Avaya has been so quiet this year. This was brought up by another analyst at the meeting, accompanied by a lot of nods from others. The problem with being quiet, though, is that people start to conjecture.This has been a year of change at Avaya, one year post-acquisition by SilverLake Partners and TPG, and as Brian Riggs detailed, a year of management change as well. So at the analyst event we weren't presented with a big set of announcements, but more a detailed account of what they had promised to deliver at last year's meeting, how they measured up to that, and then the good stuff coming up in future announcements. This included some very interesting demonstrations and discussions with Avaya Labs people that I just itch to write about, but can't.

Avaya also talked about the functional changes at the company. For example, they have consolidated multiple business units down into just three; unified communications, contact center solutions and integrated office communications, the latter of which contains SMB solutions. Anyone that follows Avaya will notice that CEBP is no longer on its own. It's now under unified communications, which some of us, such as Blair Pleasant, have been pointing out is where CEPB should have been all along. Another big change is a focus on indirect channels, which for years they seem to shy away from. Their plans are now to get to about 85% of sales coming from indirect, which is a very positive move because it really forces them to focus on partners and not split their energy between two channels as much.

The important takeaway from the conference is that even though Avaya has been quiet, they certainly aren't dead. They have been changing the infrastructure and management of the company, continuing with product development just as before, but with renewed selling strategy and realigned product development and marketing. But just as important, Avaya is financially viable, with an unimpaired financial war chest. In this economy, that's very important.

I would say to Avaya, quit being quiet, as it leaves the wrong impression in competitive quarters. With what you promised to announce and the cool stuff that we got to see being worked on in the labs, you have a story worth telling.