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The Contact Center Market in Japan: Avaya
This is the last of three No Jitter posts on the contact center market in Japan, highlights of meetings held in Tokyo with contact center market leaders that have offices there. The first two posts covered Interactive Intelligence and Genesys; this one will address Avaya's presence in Japan. One might say I've saved the best for last; in June 2012, Japan's MIC Research Institute ranked Avaya as the leading provider of communications solutions for the contact center market in Japan for the 12th consecutive year, 53.4% of the licenses shipped in 2011.
In the early 1990s, Avaya's predecessor companies AT&T and Lucent had strong PBX presence in the US but international revenues were mainly driven by large call center implementations. As these call center customers began to consider the benefits of computer telephony integration (CTI) in the late 1990s, joint deployments with CTI specialist Genesys became the standard. Why? Until the 2001 acquisition of Quintus, Avaya had no CTI solution and routinely worked with partners.
Over the past several years, as these Avaya/Genesys customers consider a transition to IP/SIP technology--like similar joint customers all over the globe--another goal is to consolidate to a single contact center solution provider. Both Avaya and Genesys spokespeople agree that more than half of the original joint customers have yet to make the transition. Of those that have migrated to IP or SIP, some have gone with Avaya, some Genesys and a small number to some other competitor.
Genesys' position is that instead of Avaya Elite Call Center plus Genesys, customers can migrate to Genesys SIP Server plus the full Genesys Suite, which in addition to SIP offers a full e-services suite. For the past several years, the Avaya solution to replace Genesys CTI in Japan has been Avaya Agent MAP and StationLink (shown below), developed locally to address the needs of Japanese customers and delivered by Avaya Professional Services.
Avaya reports that prior to 2011, the use of social media in Japan was dismissed as a "kid's toy." In post-quake Japan, it is recognized as an effective communications tool. But StationLink is voice-only today. In order to use Avaya's Social Media Manager, Japanese customers will need to migrate to a different CTI/multi-channel solution, e.g., Elite Multichannel discussed in this No Jitter post from December. The bottom line is Avaya is asking both its joint-Genesys and non-Genesys CTI customers to migrate to a new agent desktop to embrace the multichannel, social media and mobile customer collaboration future.
My meetings in Japan reinforce a belief I have held since my years in Europe in the late 1990s, that the contact center market is a global one, with the major players in the US market also the most important players internationally. While there may be minor differences in the adoption rate of this interaction channel or that, customers the world over are being served by the same customer experience solutions--for better or for worse.