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Who is Avaya and What’s the Latest News?
Who is Avaya and What’s the Latest News?
Avaya Holdings (Avaya) specializes in business communication services. It provides customer experience solutions ranging from on-premises contact center and call center solutions to communications equipment and software including cloud-based contact center, enterprise communications, collaboration, and endpoints for desks and conference rooms.
A Brief Business History of Avaya
Avaya was established in 2000 as a spin-off from Lucent Technologies. Prior to its history within Lucent, Avaya had been part of AT&T. Avaya was public from 2000 to 2007, when it was taken private in a $8.2 billion deal led by Silver Lake Partners and TPG Capital. Avaya acquired Nortel Enterprise Solutions in 2009 for $900 million, but exited the networking business in 2017 when it sold that business unit to Extreme Networks for $100 million. In 2015, Avaya bought Esna. In January 2017, the company declared bankruptcy for the first time. In December 2017, Avaya went public again. In 2018, it bought Spoken Communication and in August 2021 it bought CT Suite. All these purchases were made for undisclosed sums.
On July 28, 2022, Avaya hired a new president and CEO Alan Masarek and announced that it would substantially miss its third quarter 2023 revenue guidance which it then confirmed on August 9, 2022 – overall revenue down 20 percent year over year. On February 14, 2023, Avaya filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Avaya then emerged from Chapter 11 on May 1, 2023.
Before entering bankruptcy for a second time in February 2023, Avaya was laden with $3.9 billion in debt. Upon emerging from bankruptcy in May 2023, only three months after entering, Avaya had shed $3.75 billion in debt during the process. The company was capitalized with an additional $650 million in long-term debt, leaving Avaya with $800 million in debt financing.
Upon emerging from bankruptcy, the company announced that it has strengthened its partnership with RingCentral, demonstrating the company's willingness to work with a pureplay UCaaS provider. This site details Avaya’s extensive list of channel partners, sales agents and consultants. These partners include Google Cloud (which provides infrastructure services, AI and machine learning), Microsoft which provides Microsoft Azure cloud services, Verint which provides customer engagement solutions, Salesforce which provides CRM, Nuance which provides speech- and chat-based solutions, and RingCentral which powers Avaya’s Cloud Office solution.
What Does Avaya Do?
Avaya offers multiple types of products, services and solutions across multiple categories including, on premises. Avaya says that it has more than 100 million lines of UCaaS and that its solutions power more than 6 million contact center seats, of which three million are hybrid cloud. Its lines of business are listed below. Since emerging from bankruptcy in May 2023, the company has rationalized its product portfolio which has resulted in about half of its solutions being phased out.
For Contact Centers, Avaya provides the Avaya Experience Platform. The Avaya Experience Platform is a public cloud solution designed to help companies of all sizes innovate without disruption, bringing new features and functions to customers and employees. Some of the capabilities of the platform include AI speech analytics and noise removal, attribute-based routing, workforce engagement tools, automation and self-service.
Note that Avaya has a portfolio of on-premises call/contact center solutions and office-centric products, as well. See below for an overview of those products (Avaya Call Center Elite, Avaya Aura and Avaya IP Office). Note, too, that those solutions incorporate cloud components because part of Avaya’s strategy is to give customers interested in cloud-based systems a way to migrate to the cloud within the Avaya ecosystem. Avaya’s innovation in contact center solutions will occur in the Elite product line.
Application Programming Interfaces
The company also provides Avaya Communications application programming interfaces (APIs) which allow business processes to be automated and/or personalized with prebuilt or customized applications. With Avaya Communications APIs, companies can integrate artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities and data-driven automation into its workflows—without having to rip out your existing infrastructure. Leverage text messages, calls, and chatbots. Avaya’s Advanced Services team can curate, prototype and commercialize custom applications. Companies can also use Avaya’s workflow designer to create their own applications and/or integrations.
Unified Communications and Collaboration
Avaya also offers Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) solutions which include Avaya Cloud Office by Ring Central and Avaya Spaces. Avaya Cloud Office provides the ability to call, meet, message and more within one application. Avaya Cloud Office is the company’s only multi-tenant UCaaS solution; it is targeted at smaller customers who want a cloud PBX solution.
Some of the features of Avaya Cloud Office by Ring Central include calling with voice and video, messaging, meetings (online, video and/or virtual meeting rooms), analytics and app integration. In February 2023, RingCentral and Avaya announced that they had extended and expanded their strategic partnership in which Avaya Cloud by RingCentral would remain Avaya’s exclusive multi-tenanted UCaaS solution to Avaya’s customers, including its on-premises installed base. Avaya Cloud Office offers further integration with Avaya Experience Platform as a single solution along with over 200 business applications from major software developers.
Avaya Spaces provides a single, customizable application for users to craft role-specific tasks using the right tools for the task. Some of the features of Avaya Spaces include HIPAA and GDPR compliance and over 30 security features, one click to start a call or one-to-one video, the ability to also go from chat to voice/video, integration with Google, Microsoft Office 365 and Teams, Salesforce, Slack, and more. Plus, APIs ready to build other workflows, support for meetings with up to 1,000 participants.
Avaya Enterprise Cloud is a hybrid cloud offering that provides a dedicated, secure software instance in data centers across multiple global locations. Some of its features include contact center capabilities (e.g., intelligent skills-based routing, real-time reporting and integrated call recording, conversational AI developed with the intent to analyze customer interactions and gain insights into customer sentiment and behavior) and unified communications functions including cloud-based telephony and call control, voicemail and instant messaging, team engagement and conferencing, Microsoft Teams integration, and emergency calling.
The hybrid cloud architecture acts as a bridge between a company’s existing premises-based systems and the cloud, offering a dedicated single instance on a shared infrastructure.
Devices for Individuals and Conference Rooms
Avaya’s device catalog is extensive, covering cameras, room cameras, conference phones, room systems and telepresence, headsets, and IP desk phones.
Avaya also sells on premises systems for business communications. These offerings include Avaya Call Center Elite, Avaya Aura and Avaya IP Office. As several No Jitter contributors have discussed (see the links in the “What’s Next for Avaya” and “Key Headlines about Avaya” sections below), part of the company’s overall strategy is to not only continue providing on-premises systems to those customers who prefer that approach, but to also provide a clear, Avaya-based pathway to the cloud for those customers who want to move in that direction.
Avaya Call Center Elite is a call center solution that handles inbound and outbound contacts, all manageable with real-time and historical reporting insights. Digital channels can be added via Avaya’s cloud solutions so that those cloud agents can assist customers via email, chat, messaging, social media, and more. Voice channels can also overflow to those cloud agents. Agents are provided with a consolidated desktop that allows them to service multiple digital customer interactions at the same time (if so configured), source customer information from multiple back-end systems, and handle voice via a browser or separate media endpoint. The cloud component to the on-premises solutions provides Avaya customers with a path inside of the Avaya ecosystem to incorporate digital channels (email, chat, social, etc.).
The Avaya Aura Platform unifies media, networks, devices, applications, and presence across a common infrastructure via SIP. Existing PBXs and other third-party communications resources can be combined into a centrally managed infrastructure, standardizing the core environment and delivering immediate paybacks in network access, management and operational costs, while laying the foundation for collaborative solutions, like Avaya IX Workplace (along with Messaging and Multimedia Messaging), which enable an integrated software-based UC solution for voice, video, messaging, conferencing and collaboration solution that will function across mobile devices, browsers, desktops and room systems. Avaya is continuing to invest in Aura.
Avaya IP Office is on premise PBX offering for the small- to medium-sized business market. The Avaya Equinox experience provides a single app for voice, video, messaging, conferencing and calendar and keeps employees productive on any device (including mobiles). IP Office reduces security threats, toll fraud, and down-time through a hardened architecture that has been proven in more than 635,000 businesses. The product will also support up to 3,000 users at up to 150 networked sites.
What’s next for Avaya?
Avaya has successfully emerged from the Chapter 11 financial restructuring process. The company now has a capital structure of approximately $650 million with a net leverage ratio of less than 1x. In that same press release, Avaya stated that it has rolled out more than 150 new product features and enhancements across its portfolio and launched Avaya Enterprise Cloud, a dedicated instance of Avaya’s core contact center, collaboration and unified communications software solutions for large enterprises.
According to No Jitter contributor Dave Michels: Avaya reported that its customers include 90% of the US Fortune 100, the world’s top 10 airlines, 48 of the world’s top 50 major banks, and governments in 40 countries. Michels also stated in that article that Avaya has a potentially lucrative opportunity to shine in the contact center infrastructure (CCI) market segment and that the company has plans to internally develop Avaya's CCaaS, known as Avaya Experience Platform (AXP), and transition its customers to hybrid services with AXP. Avaya also announced it has increased AXP development efforts, including new compliance certifications and new APIs for channels, routing, and analytics. It also expanded its partnership with Cognigy, giving it access to a conversational AI platform.
According to Brent Kelly’s article on No Jitter, Avaya is pursuing a strategy that will position it more closely with Microsoft via a telephony integration of the Avaya Experience Platform into Microsoft Teams.
Key Headlines about Avaya
The following are some of No Jitter’s coverage of Avaya news over the last year. They are organized in reverse chronological order.
August 23, 2023: How AI Can Transform CX in Vertical Industry Use Cases: Avaya recently hosted a webinar showcasing capabilities for the banking and travel sectors.
August 16, 2023: Avaya is Back: The company’s post-bankruptcy strategy has a laser focus on CX while deprecating PBX and UCaaS.
July 31, 2023: Avaya Partners Cognigy and Journey Expand Customer Service Capabilities: Both Cognigy and Journey offer Avaya's contact center customers the opportunity to reimagine their customer experiences, with the latest AI and smartphone technologies.
June 23, 2023: Avaya Highlights New Capabilities, Integrations and Expanded Partnerships: At Avaya ENGAGE 2023, the contact center services provider announced new platform integrations and capabilities, along with expanded strategic alliances with Google and Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise.
May 1, 2023: Avaya Emerges from Chapter 11: With its new capital structure, the company can pursue new market opportunities while enhancing its customer service and support capabilities.
March 9, 2023: Avaya Users: Your Provider Went Bankrupt – Here's How Might This Affect You: Bankruptcy can often make a business's customers nervous about whether or not existing services and contracts will continue during restructuring. Here's what to expect and how to respond.
February 14, 2023: Avaya Files for Chapter 11: Avaya filed a prepackaged bankruptcy with intent to exit Chapter 11 within 90 days—a much shorter process than the company’s 2017 bankruptcy.
February 14, 2023: Avaya's Financial Restructuring Provides Opportunity to Refocus Resources. The company's Chapter 11 filing plus its recent overhaul of product lines and go-to-market strategies offer Avaya a chance to execute on CEO Alan Masarek's strategy.
Want to Know Still More About Avaya?
The following are links to No Jitter’s historical coverage of Avaya news. They are organized by year and in chronological order.
August 1, 2022: Avaya Braces for Big Changes to Avoid Chapter 11 Again: A new CEO and old problems set the stage for turbulent times ahead at Avaya.
August 02, 2022: 6 Top Priorities for New Avaya CEO Alan Masarek: The company has a real opportunity for growth if it follows the strategic and tactical to-do list outlined here.
August 12, 2022: Avaya’s Troubles Pile Up: Is Chapter 11 Next? If a second bankruptcy occurs, will Microsoft seek to buy Avaya’s contact center business?
August 23, 2022: Avaya: Reasons To Be Optimistic: Despite troubling financial news, Avaya might have a reason to feel optimistic in the appointment of Alan Masarek as CEO.
September 26, 2022: Avaya's Troubles Illustrate the Perils of Change: A change in how people work, the loss of the first-mover advantage—and a retreat from bold decision-making all contributed to the vendor's current woes.
December 16, 2022: Avaya Teeters Closer to Chapter 11 on Bad Financial News: Avaya’s lower-than-expected revenues and negative cash flow concerns make it ripe for restructuring, news outlets are reporting.
November 22, 2021: Avaya Turns a Major Corner, Completes Cloud Transition: The multi-year plan that Avaya CEO Jim Chirico set into motion in 2017 continues to pay dividends.
September 21, 2021: Running on an Old Avaya UC System? Plan Now for EoL: The clock is ticking away on the entire Avaya CS1000 product line; here’s how to simplify your upgrade using long-reach PoE switches.
August 19, 2021: Avaya, Microsoft: What Does the CPaaS Partnership Mean?: Two industry analysts share their perspective on how this partnership can benefit both companies.
February 23, 2021: Understanding Avaya's Chatbot Socialization Technology: The technology allows federation, orchestration, and interaction between third-party, independently developed bots.
March 06, 2020: RingCentral Office vs Avaya Cloud Office: How They Differ: If you’re still wondering how Avaya Cloud Office will compare to RingCentral Office, here’s what you need to know.
May 10, 2019: Who Should Acquire Avaya? Here's my list of potential suitors.
October 29, 2019: Avaya & RingCentral: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Some thoughts on this unique partnership and potential impacts.
December 04, 2019: Is the RingCentral Deal Good for Avaya, Financially? More thoughts on this unique partnership and potential impacts
June 03, 2019: Avaya Containerizes UCaaS: Taps Google Cloud Platform as host for this latest in its Powered By line.