Lucent names enterprise networks spin-off Avaya

Networking equipment vendor Lucent Technologies has provided further details concerning the planned spin-off of its enterprise networks group, including the new name - Avaya Communication. The new company also announced a worldwide strategic relationship with customer relationship management (CRM) software vendor Siebel Systems.

Lucent expects to complete the spin-off of Avaya by the end of Lucent's fourth quarter, which will close September 30. The firm first announced the spin-off earlier this year as a way to more directly focus on the corporate networking market, while leaving parent company Lucent free to zero in on other key areas of its business.

Avaya will provide corporations with communications hardware and software, such as LAN switching products, along with messaging, call centres and voice communications technologies, to help customers in their e-business efforts, according to a statement released by Lucent.

As Lucent's former enterprise networks group, the new company will start off life with nearly one million customers, around 78 per cent of whom come from Fortune 500 firms. For fiscal 1999 as a whole, the Lucent group reported net income of around $US300 million on revenue of close to $8.3 billion, according to the company.

As announced earlier this year, Donald Peterson, previously Lucent's executive vice president and chief financial officer, becomes Avaya's chief executive officer and president, while Henry Schacht, former Lucent chairman and chief executive officer, becomes chairman of the new company. Avaya's chief financial officer is Garry McGuire, previously CEO and president of Williams Communications Solutions and president of Nortel Communications Systems.

Under the terms of the global tie-up with Siebel, Avaya and the CRM vendor will work together on the development, integration and marketing of e-business offerings, according to Avaya.

Featuring a joint development and integration team, along with joint sales and marketing teams, the relationship builds on an earlier agreement between Lucent and Siebel announced in August of last year. The pair will integrate Siebel e-business applications with Avaya communications products as a way to speed up deployment of the technologies and enable corporates to turn their current call centres into operations that make better use of CRM, Avaya said.

Existing joint Lucent and Siebel customers include Compaq and Nexstar Financial. In the Avaya statement, Compaq CEO and President Michael Capellas was quoted as saying his company expects to "benefit greatly" from the closer working relationship between Siebel and Avaya.

The first fruits of the enhanced relationship are likely to appear in the course of the fourth quarter of this year, Avaya said. The integrated product offerings will pull together Siebel's e-business applications for sales, marketing and customer service, for example, Call Center, eMarketing and eService, with Avaya's CRM Central 2000 and CentreVu Customer Care Solutions.

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