Avaya to abandon hardware heritage

Avaya to abandon hardware heritage

Leaving behind the company's network hardware past, Avaya officials have revealed their long-term strategy is to evolve into a software entity developing products that run on industry-standard hardware platforms.

In meetings with journalists at Avaya's corporate headquarters in New Jersey, a handful of officials said that the company is already moving toward that goal with a managed and professional services arm, business applications, and recent efforts to make some of its products run on application servers, such as IBM's WebSphere.

When asked if Avaya's intention was to become more software-centric in the future, Jorge Blanco, director of strategy and planning at the company, responded, "absolutely".

Indeed, the company already offers a number of applications, including CRM, contact-centre programs, IP telephony software, unified messaging, and communications applications.

Avaya earlier this week announced a new Multimedia Contact Center CRM suite, which helps companies deal with their customers using the Web, e-mail, and phone.

With this version, Avaya now supports Windows and Solaris, but a version due later this year will add support for AIX, and a subsequent iteration will include Linux support, according to James Smith, vice president of CRM solutions at Avaya.

"The feature capabilities are there in the 6.0 release; the next version is really about new platforms," Smith said.

Karyn Mashima, Avaya's senior vice president of strategy and technology, said that Web services will ease the integration of Avaya and non-Avaya applications.

"As we move to these industry-standard platforms, it will be much easier to integrate the business applications with the communications applications," she said.

Web services also offer a way for Avaya and its customer base to make the most of existing infrastructure, Mashima said. "XML is the easiest way not to change the device or the application," she added.

In addition to products, Avaya is also putting considerable stake into its services business. "We're focusing on being a consultant to our customers as well as [being] a technology provider," said Dave Johnson, Avaya's senior vice president of sales and marketing.

Linda Schumacher, vice president of services at Avaya, said that the strongest growth within the services realm is around outsourcing and out-tasking.

Johnson also said that the structured cabling and apparatus segment of its business is up for sale, although Avaya is not desperate for a buyer. "If the price is right, we'll do it," Johnson said.

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