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Avaya CEO optimistic about the future

Unified communications vendor to emerge as a public company in mid-December

Chirico says contact centre technology is core to the overall success of Avaya’s business.
Chirico says contact centre technology is core to the overall success of Avaya’s business.

As unified communications specialist Avaya prepares to exit the Chapter 11 process, global CEO Jim Chirico, used the company's participation at last month's GITEX Technology Week, to thank channel partners and customers in the region for their loyalty during this process.

The vendor was at GITEX 2017 to showcase a range of its core technologies and emerging technologies including blockchain.

Chirico said since the filing in January this year, Avaya has not lost any customers and credit must go to partners, customers and staff. "We filed our business plan back in the April timeframe in accordance with the exit process of and each of the last three quarters we have been able to exceed that. So from a company and revenue perspective, we are doing well and I really want to thank our partners for that as they stuck with us," he said. "They continued to provide tremendous amount of support for Avaya and it's been a great relationship working with partners over the last 10 months."

Chirico notes that when you enter the Chapter 11 process, your customers get a bit nervous about the risk and longevity of the company, but Avaya teams have done a great job in overcoming that. "At the same time, it's been rewarding because it really showed how our customers have been loyal to Avaya," he said.

Avaya is readying to exit Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection in the first part of December 2017 and emerge as a public traded company.

Chirico points out that Avaya's gross margins are number in the industry. "Most importantly, as we exit the Chapter 11 process, we are going to cut our debt requirements by more than half so that will reduce our debts by more than $3bn," he said. "That will give us roughly $300m of additional cash into the company and we plan to use that cash for greater investments within our R&D, sales organisation and continuing to invest into emerging technologies."

On the technology front Avaya plans to invest in emerging technologies like AI and blockchain.

Chirico said the contact centre technology is core to the overall success of the company's business. "What the technology does is enable our key customers to drive productivity and efficiencies bring new solutions into their work force such that they can optimise and grow, and get those efficiencies and scale the business," he said. "We just recently announced a product that has multi-channel capabilities and enables transactional or interactions to actually occur much more seamlessly."

For example explained Chirico, when a customer calls into the contact centre, the call is routed to an agent that understands them and their call is then provided with the level of analytics and contact centre agents so that they can quickly resolved any issues a customer may have. "This innovation is really driving efficiencies for companies and our customer base," he said.

Looking ahead Chirico is upbeat that Avaya will emerge from this process with renewed strengths, products, solutions and structure. "We will also be able to do a lot more in services as well as taking a look at potential opportunities for mergers and acquisitions," he added.

He points out that having a new balance sheet and moving away from the significant debt burden will bring more focus for Avaya to innovative technologies.

He reiterates that going forward Award will change the culture within the company. "We are a culture and company that's really focused on winning and as I mentioned earlier, we had some significant debt payments every quarter and that kind of put us in a defensive position," he said. "Now that we are going to be freed of that heavy debt burden, we are going to become more offensive and focus the company around execution. We are also going to focus this company around delivering technology and solutions that our customers and partners want us to deliver.

Chirico said Avaya has the largest installed base to the forefront of driving the communications sector. "We are continuing to grow our partner base and if you look at the economics of the channel, we take advantage of the skills, expertise and combined efforts of partners and Avaya in taking solutions to customers and that's a great experience," he said.