How Avaya retools itself around “experiences”
One of the biggest technology fairs in the world, GITEX, kicks off in Dubai this week. At the event, cloud communications provider Avaya showcased its Experience Builders program, which aligns its departments, partners and developers around creating customer and employee experiences. The new initiative is based on Avaya’s OneCloud, designed to be a composable back-end for Avaya and its ecosystem to deliver new experiences.
Composable software is a system design principle that deals with the interrelationships of components. A highly composable system provides components that can be selected and assembled in various combinations to meet specific user needs.
The role of unified communications (UC) and the contact center (CC) has changed over the past two years due to the pandemic. Before COVID-19, these applications were important but arguably not business-critical. Today the world has changed and more than half of all employees work remotely at least for the time being, and interactions with customers have gone digital. A good way to think about the impact is that before the pandemic, communication tools were used by a subset of employees and customers; today they are used by almost everyone.
Standard UC and DC applications meet the needs of many people, but not all. Others require more personalized experiences, which is why the communications industry has shifted from selling products to platforms. One could look at Avaya OneCloud and think of it as one of the many UC and CC cloud solutions because it offers this functionality. In reality, OneCloud is a CPaaS (Communication Platform as a Service) solution that enables Avaya and its partners to create unique experiences. The product of the company Spaces Meetings is a good example. Although this is a complete meeting solution, the product has been “put together” using Avaya development tools.
In fact, Avaya has a number of programs in place for different parts of its ecosystem to develop on its platform. For example, DevConnect is its development program for third party software vendors, while technology partners can integrate using APIs. Multiple programs for different audiences are standard in the industry right now, but Avaya takes a different approach. Experience Builders creates a single program for its entire ecosystem, which unifies the knowledge base.
Customers think about experiences a certain way, while partners may view them differently. An ISV may have another point of view, just like technology providers. With Experience Builders, anyone in this ecosystem can now tap into the knowledge of this collective group. This streamlines development, and by sharing ideas across the ecosystem, Avaya can drive the creation of new experiences, which benefit everyone.
Contents of the Experience Builders package
Avaya OneCloud is the foundation for Experience Builders, but the package also includes the following components:
Artificial intelligence is an essential component of Avaya’s products, and the program will expose its ecosystem to its AI partners such as NVIDIA, Google, Nuance and AWS.
Integration tools and services. The program includes more than 40 APIs to connect existing Avaya systems to new cloud applications that meet the demands of hybrid work. Avaya’s customer base is the largest in the communications industry, and this integration allows the audience of experienced creators to build on that foundation.
Knowledge and ideas. The program will include an Avaya Experience Builders research library that contains information on AI, hybrid work, the cloud, and other hot trends. As the industry evolves, Avaya will enrich this knowledge base.
Because the program brings together the existing ecosystem, Experience Builders currently includes more than 250 technology partners, 32,000 DevConnect companies and 154,000 registered developers, including 24,000 using OneCloud CPaaS and 7,200 partners and distribution agents. Typically, when vendors create an ecosystem program, the first few years bear little fruit as membership needs to be created from scratch. In the case of Avaya, the company can start on the right track thanks to the programs it had in place.
In addition to stimulating more modernized thinking, Experience Builders addresses some fundamental challenges organizations face today, including the shortage of talented developers, especially in small and medium businesses. The Avaya program provides comprehensive support for businesses of all sizes, including pre-built applications that can be quickly adapted to create a unique experience. Additionally, Experience Builders is expected to enable its ecosystem to achieve a much faster time to value through pre-built integrations, app connectors, and workflows.
Finally, the program helps address one of the most significant but underestimated challenges facing businesses today – linking on-premises systems to the cloud. The cloud is all the rage today, but most established organizations just can’t move everything to the public cloud overnight. Experience Builders contains a library of hybrid cloud services that solve many application and security issues.
At GITEX, Avaya is showcasing several composable experiences, from all regions of the world. Although the formal program is new, Avaya has operated this way for some time. A US-based education provider, Toolwire has integrated Avaya’s UC product, Spaces, into its learning product to bring together asynchronous and synchronous education. Based in Dubai, EMAAR has created a digital real estate product that leverages the Spaces Video Inside Contact Center app. Nuuday, the largest Danish provider of broadband, communications and entertainment services, has launched Josefine, an AI-based voice bot, which uses Avaya OneCloud CCaaS and Google Cloud Contact Center AI to optimize the customer experience based on interactions with customers. These are just a few of the experiences that were quickly built through the program.
Communication and collaboration tools are at the heart of digital transformation, but realizing the value of unified communications and CCs requires a different kind of thinking. Instead of focusing on products, developers, and partners, customers need to think about how to deliver the experience people want, when they want it. Avaya Experience Builders enables the large enterprise ecosystem to pivot in a programmatic way that allows it to capitalize on the current experience economy.
For Avaya, this initiative is essential to repositioning the business. It’s the oldest and most established communications company in the industry, but it’s a double-edged sword. While this gives him a degree of seriousness that few vendors can match, he’s often cataloged as a legacy compared to his much younger peers.
Experience Builders changes the positioning of Avaya and aligns it with current trends, such as customer and employee experience. Over the past few years, it has revamped its product line into a composable application framework, and now it has the right program in place.