Avaya redefines customer experience for GITEX 2016

Interview with Savio Tovar, director of sales engineering, Avaya, Asia, MEA & Turkey
Savio Tovar, director of Sales Engineering, Avaya, Asia, MEA & Turkey
Savio Tovar, director of Sales Engineering, Avaya, Asia, MEA & Turkey

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As GITEX Technology Week nears, Savio Tovar, director of Sales Engineering at Avaya, Asia, MEA & Turkey on what Avaya plans to showcase at GITEX, what trends it has witnessed this year and why customer experience has been the forefront of Avaya's focus.

What are the major technology trends that Avaya has witnessed in 2016 that will take centre stage at GITEX Technology Week?

This year, our focus is not on the technology, it's on the experience. Today, 89% of companies expect to compete primarily on customer experience, up from 36% just four years ago. As organisations embark on digital transformation initiatives, an essential part of the journey is delivering a multichannel experience allowing for consistent customer experiences from multiple touch points, and enabling customers to make contact via the mediums of their choice. Customers today expect to receive an always-on personal digital experience. However, meeting that expectation is no longer optional.

However, IT departments are struggling to keep pace: by the end of 2017, market demand for mobile app development services will grow five times faster than internal IT organisations can deliver them, according to Gartner. So enterprises need to overcome the skills gap and deliver initiatives at customer speed.

At Avaya, we like to say that we engineer out the complexity so the user experience is simple and intuitive. User-defined engagement is our new mantra at Avaya. We dream it, innovate for it, develop it, live it. It is in our DNA. With more than 300,000 customers worldwide utilising Avaya communications software, services and applications, we understand engagement better than most. We also know that in this new consumer-driven digital world, the customer should be the one to define their own digital experiences.

User-defined engagement is the new ideal for any company to embrace. It's a mind shift for any development organisation but an important shift to make. A one-size-fits-all approach is no longer acceptable. Customers are the users of the solution, they know better than anyone what problems the solution needs to solve.

As Avaya specialises in customer and team engagement solutions, when you talk about users and customers are you referring to only external customers or internal users also?

Digital transformation requires us to continue to evolve and simplify our portfolio of solutions and services to prioritize the quality, speed, accuracy and security of every experience when engaging with or within an enterprise. We are seeing a melding of customer and team engagement solutions, which makes sense. After all, your employees might not all be your specific customers but they are someone's customers. Likewise, many of your customers are likely someone else's employees. Both groups expect to be able to use similar solutions that enable similar experiences with your enterprise.

With this commonality in mind, we are building all of our customer and team engagement solutions on the same platform, Avaya Breeze. As a middleware component, Breeze pulls together applications and acts as a developer platform for building new, turnkey applications. In fact, Breeze is our developer platform of choice inside Avaya. Everything we do for customer and team engagement applications and services is now based on Breeze.

What specific solutions and offerings is Avaya going to be showcasing at GITEX this year?

The Breeze platform will be central to what we are showcasing at GITEX this year. For the first time ever we are hosting a live Snapathon event at the show, featuring DevConnect partners from all around the world. Visitors to the stand will be able to see them innovate in real-time, creating snap-ins on the Breeze platform that cover everything from location-based alerts to augmented reality solutions.

Breeze provides an entirely new way to develop business communications applications, profoundly simplifying application development, while delivering built-in capabilities for enhanced mobile, customer-facing and hybrid/cloud requirements. Snap-ins -- easily consumable, prebuilt connectors, fit-for-purpose apps and/or developer code -- enable companies to quickly build workflows, customer journeys and other unique applications.

We are also going to focus heavily on how emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and augmented reality are now taking centre stage in the customer experience. Here in the Middle East, which has a predominately young, tech-savvy population, with some of the highest smartphone penetration rates in the world, we see a continuing hunger for innovation in the customer experience.

Accordingly, we believe this region is going to help drive AI adoption, and will be showcasing at GITEX how AI can enhance the customer experience. We've been working on a self-learning chatbot that businesses can use with all types of social media platforms to improve the customer service they offer.

Part of our Avaya Oceana solution, it will be capable of holding intelligent conversations with customers, answering their queries, and resolving customer service issues. It works by leveraging self-learning artificial intelligence technologies to model customer language and dialogue interactions. As such it's able to predict customer preferences and resolve problems, almost before the customer knows they have one.

We will also showcase how our SDN Fx networking architecture provides a secure and automated platform for organisations in pretty much any industry vertical you can name to deliver better experiences and outcomes for end users, from more engaging customer experiences to faster emergency response times that help to save lives.

How does Avaya differentiate itself from competitors in this customer experience space?

Avaya is a leading provider of contact centre, solutions globally - we are the only vendor to have been recognised in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Contact Centre Infrastructure for 16 straight years. So we have that heritage of creating seamless and highly personalised experiences, building brand loyalty for companies all around the world.

Over the past few years, we have evolved to be better able to meet the needs of our customers - today, more than three quarters of our revenue is from software and services. We offer the most complete portfolio of software and services for unified communications, offered on premises, in the cloud, or whatever combination the customer wishes.

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