Avaya finds growth in mid-market

Company continues transformation into services-led business

Avaya sees opportunities for growth in the Australian mid-market as it continues its move from a primarily hardware and software company to a software and services business, according to Tony Simonsen, Avaya's MD for Australia/New Zealand.

"In Australia that's a $660 million market; worldwide it's $36 billion," said Simonsen, who took up his position in April this year.

"We identified four years ago that as a company we were very, very good in the enterprise world — the top end of town — but weren't able to address what we saw as a growing opportunity in the mid-market. And it was a very significant opportunity, so we built products, software, services and solutions for that market specifically."

Avaya defines the mid-market as companies with 2000 or fewer staff.

"We are seeing a massive transition from where customers had on-premise type technology, they had traditional hardware and software solutions, to wanting to consume rather than just purchase," Simonsen said.

As a result, cloud is becoming an increasingly important part of Avaya's portfolio.

"If I think about cloud in terms of opportunity within our business, it's increased tenfold just in the time I've been here. You can see the customers demanding that and we're able to provide that... And then underpinning that is our fabric.

"We don't talk about networking; we don't talk about data so much. We talk about the networking fabric that underpins everything we're doing, that supports our application enablement. That is becoming more and more important for us going forward."

Seventy per cent of Avaya's business is software and services now, the MD said.

"We've gone from being a hardware company to becoming a company that's about software and solutions and more — becoming a services-led organisation where we're talking to our customers and consulting to our customers around business problems and then finding a solution that fits that rather than just 'let me sell you a piece of technology that goes and does something'."

Managing network complexity hits Australian businesses

Employee productivity, sales, supply change management and mobile security are all taking a hit because of networking complexity, according to a survey of Australian IT pros.

The research by Dynamic Markets, commissioned by Avaya, found that the overwhelming majority of the IT staff in Australian enterprises who were surveyed reported negative impacts on their organisation due to complexity imposing limits on the ease of implementing network changes.

The Australian survey is part of an international series of studies into network agility sponsored by Avaya.

Australian survey participants reported an average 10 network changes every 12 months that required a maintenance window, though the median was a substantially lower four.

Thirty eight per cent of respondents had to wait 11 and 30 days for a maintenance window. Thirteen per cent had to wait more than 50 days.

Almost half of the respondents — 47 per cent — reported reduced employee productivity as a result of network change errors. Other impacts included disruption to other IT projects, (43 per cent), supply chain disruption (28 per cent), and backlash from lines of business (22 per cent). Around a quarter reported IT employees had lost their jobs.

"IT guys are increasingly being measured around growth of the business rather than just functionality and technology and uptime and all those sorts of things," said Tony Simonsen, Avaya's MD for Australia/New Zealand.

"So the success of the company is being tied to what [IT] do; they've got a stake in growth rather than just being what they've traditionally been."

Simonsen said that as a result, conversations between IT and the business, and between Avaya and IT departments, including around networking, are much more focussed on delivering business outcomes.

"Every CIO I talk to isn't focussed on technology or widgets; they talk about the business problems they're trying to solve," Simonsen said

The discussions the vendor has with clients are focussed on the delivery of applications to the business, with IT measured on business outcomes.

"What we're seeing when we're talking to CIOs is — and this is I think a result of the movement to virtualization and cloud — the role of the CIO and IT organisations is really to be a service provider to lines of businesses and so the way they're measured is very, very different [to what it used to be]," said Joe Manuele, Avaya's cloud chief.

"This is what we're seeing more and more; it's all about enabling applications to increase productivity across the different LOBs."

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