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Avaya & Google Collaborate on Contact Center Solutions

The confluence of Avaya looking to accelerate its profile as a provider of cloud applications, Google wanting to amplify its enterprise efforts and contact center solutions being an attractive (revenue-generating) place to invest in new technology created a perfect storm leading to a major announcement today at Avaya's Engage event in Santa Clara, Calif.

Back in July, Avaya CMO Andy Cunningham articulated a goal to "make Avaya cool." From a contact center perspective, she accomplished that goal today by pairing the Avaya brand with the ever-cool Google.

To be fair, while Cunningham was the marketing architect behind today's splashy event, Joe Manuele, Avaya's vice president of Global Service Providers, System Integrators, Alliances, and Cloud, handled the heavy lifting on building the partnership with Google over the course of many months.

Google has been dabbling in business applications for years. In July 2014 at its annual developer conference the company signaled with several announcements that it intended to increase its efforts. New applications like Drive for Work and Android for Work followed the hiring of several new executives from Cisco, IBM, Microsoft and Amazon into Google Enterprise. Just last week the company announced a new Google for Work Partner Program. It's three categories of partners are sales, services and technology, with initial partners including Sprint, PwC and Cloud Sherpas. I'll expect to see Avaya on that Web site soon.

What Avaya and Google have announced is that they will work to create innovative contact center solutions for businesses. The initial project enables businesses to use Google Chromebooks and a software bundle of Avaya Agent and Chrome Management Software to enable simple set up of new agents and supervisors in any location.

A Chromebook is a relatively inexpensive laptop running Google's Chrome OS as its operating system. The devices are designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet, with most applications and data residing in the cloud. The solution allows businesses to easily support business continuity as well as mobile and remote agent strategies. Customer service agents will be able to access the Avaya contact center agent desktop with Chromebooks through a WebRTC-enabled interface. Avaya Agent for Chrome solution eliminates the need to download thick clients on individual agent endpoints.

What are the big advantages of Avaya Agent for Chrome? It enables the use of inexpensive, dedicated hardware that won't run games or download viruses and even more importantly will keep corporate information secure. Also, no software updates will ever be required -- the latest version of the contact center application is available on the Chromebook automatically.

Avaya cloud partner TeleTech says it has already deployed the Avaya Agent for Chrome internally to support part of our 24x7 network operating center Avaya operations. Google customer MeadWestVaco has begun a pilot of 15 agents that will be using Avaya Agent for Chrome on Chromebooks as its core contact center technology.

While the Chromebook application is certainly intriguing and will be beneficial in very specific use cases, like TeleTech's IT group, more interesting is the relationship with Google itself and the possibilities for the future. Manuele tells us that more Avaya/Google contact center big news is ahead, likely as soon as Enterprise Connect 2015. Stay tuned.