Top two trends seen at Engage 2020

After all the meetings, the conversations, the follow-ups, the presentations and travel, I have finally found time to relax a bit and put together my analysis of what I saw at Engage 2020. Like every year, the conference was packed with demonstrations and discussions around digital transformation. Avaya’s tagline this year was “all in” and it clearly reflects the direction in which their new products are moving.

Race to the cloud and cloud-native architectures

This year, the main highlight of the event was the announcement of Avaya’s collaboration with RingCentral. RingCentral is an on-cloud robust UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) platform that has been around for many years. Avaya, on the other hand is a key player in the communications space and has traditionally been a strong contender in the private cloud domain with products such as OneCloud Ready. Now, with a strong strategic partnership, Avaya has built Avaya Cloud Office (ACO) on top of RingCentral UCaaS. Avaya will offer ACO to its partners and customers as it leapfrogs to the ‘UC over cloud’ space. While this brings flexibility of the cloud to Avaya’s partners and customers, it also creates a ready userbase for RingCentral. It also entails that Avaya’s partners will need to quickly adopt cloud native technologies and microservice architectures if they want to remain competitive. We can also see other Avaya offerings like Contact Center moving to the cloud; to the public cloud more specifically.

This move follows the long-foreseen trend in the technology industry. Today, mere migration to the cloud is passé. Rearchitecting entire product lines to exploit the benefits of microservices is the next phase of transformation. This move brings scalability and savings. Customers can now focus on their core business without worrying about infrastructure. It also allows companies to mover to a subscription model instead of perpetual licensing. Cloud native technologies also enables greater collaboration with partners. The ability to adopt and utilize plug & play components reduces the effort required for innovation.

Infusion of AI & ML across the portfolio

Avaya has also decided to focus more on customer and employee experience in Contact Center. Across the globe, millions of interactions occur per minute and over 70% of initial conversations are repetitive. Infusion of AI is the next logical step in simplifying this process and making it much smarter. The underlying philosophy driving this change is that the workforce is becoming hybrid; humans are working closely with bots more than ever before and this interaction impacts both customer & employee experience at the same time. Users are getting their problems solved faster by interacting with technology rather than people. Organizations are also seeing serious cost savings in this process.

Infusion of AI will not remain limited to Avaya Cloud Office or Contact Center. Virtual Assistant, Healthcare Solutions, IVR and Customer Journey will all have built-in AI soon to make life easier for end-customers. Infusion of AI also creates the possibility of generating unforeseen insights about how people communicate and how communication technologies should evolve. It can also have other applications like the ability to predict impending network failures and improvement of quality issues with video calls. In customer facing areas, AI will also reduce customer dissonance and make support systems more responsive with the advent of sentiment analysis. The possibilities are endless.

Conclusion

We can clearly see that the focus has moved towards creating better experiences than just reducing costs. Avaya’s on-prem products will move to the cloud giving greater flexibility to customers & partners. It will also create newer business models for Avaya while allowing them to leverage ready services & development teams. This also means that developers who have expertise in working with cloud native microservice based architectures, will have more opportunities to engage with Avaya.

Avaya has robust products with deep penetration in the market, and with this new approach, it will maintain its leading position under evolving market conditions. As the tag line of this year’s Engage suggested, Avaya has decided to go “all in”!

Author
Amod Bhate | Associate Technical Manager

Amod Bhate is an associate technical manager at GS Lab and has managed the delivery of key projects before moving to business development.
Amod is an alumnus of Old Dominion University, Virginia. He is also known as one of the fastest marathoners in Pune and has multiple podiums under his belt.