After the Avaya bankruptcy announcement, it is natural that Avaya customers are taking this time to reevaluate the future technology supporting their contact centers. At Avaya Engage last week, management sought to rally customers and partners, but that was tempered with news that Avaya is pulling out of its sponsorship and official participation in Enterprise Connect next month. This is just the latest reminder that although management has one version of the story that they like to tell about after Avaya exits Chapter 11, their creditors may have another script in mind and can steer the company in a different direction. The reality is Avaya just does not know what the future holds – their creditors and the bankruptcy process will ultimately have the final say. This can leave Avaya customers feeling they have more questions than answers.
Although we can’t answer all your questions about the future, here are some considerations and options for planning your next steps after Avaya.
What should I be doing now?
Many organizations have policies regarding working with a key supplier in bankruptcy. Your procurement leader or CFO can provide specific details, but often this involves deferring any new purchases from that supplier, proactively initiating a project to search for a replacement, and not committing to maintenance renewals of more than a year. If you have been working with a business partner, such as a Value Added Reseller (VAR), it can also provide peace of mind to understand the depth of Avaya skills that they have to support you directly for a short time, if needed.
Why consider making a change now?
The upside from all this uncertainty is that it provides an opportunity to pause and reflect on what you’re missing with your current contact center technology now that staying the course with Avaya is no longer the lowest risk option. More importantly, what customer experience and bottom line benefits are possible with a move to a modern contact center?
- Stop paying for more than you use: switch to a software-as-a-service (SaaS or, more commonly now called cloud), pay-as-you-go model
- Eliminate complex, lengthy upgrades: roll out new features automatically (and never have to worry about “interoperability tables” again!)
- Make changes quickly: adjust IVR, routing, etc. in minutes—not weeks
- Gain greater reliability: with distribution of customer contacts across sites, including work-from-home agents, hot failover across all your sites, plus high availability SLAs
- Scrap clunky, bolted-on interfaces: with a true all-in-one, unified solution
- Protect your future: with a focused, industry-leading, and financially solid partner
Who are my other options?
Before building your shortlist, deciding the best architectural approach for your next generation contact center will help you focus on the right leading candidates. They generally fall into one of three categories:
- Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS): selecting this approach will not only provide a modern experience for both customers and agents, but also will continuously keep you ahead of the curve with future-proof, automatic updates. You’ll be in good company if you chose this route. Industry analyst Donna Fluss of DMG recently wrote, “The number of cloud-based contact center infrastructure seats increased by 20.9 percent in 2016. This growth came from companies of all sizes, most of which replaced an existing premises-based contact center solution.”
- Traditional on-premises: this can feel the most familiar of the options, but it does make it much more difficult to achieve the six transformational benefits of a modern contact center (see above). For companies that operate in remote international geographies not yet well served by CCaaS, this may be the best option for those remote locations. However, traditionally long deployment cycles are an added risk with going this route.
- Hosted single-tenant: paying extra operating expenses (OPEX) to the software provider or a third party to host traditional on-premises software my look “cloud-like” and appear to be a natural bridge. However, this can often lead to outcomes that are the worst of both worlds. Since the hosted model doesn’t provide automatic updates or lower the overall cost of service delivery, it mainly ends up shifting cost (plus an extra profit margin) to a 3rd party.
How do I get there from here?
Fortunately, there is a proven and reliable path to modernize your contact center. Last year alone, inContact helped over 50 customers move from Avaya to a modern cloud contact center. Here are some resources to help plan your journey.
- Hear from former Avaya customer Carlson Rezidor – went live on inContact in 60 days
- Download this white paper for best practices in moving from on-premises to the cloud
- Explore our Avaya Migration Package, designed to provide you a smooth path forward
Where can I learn more?
Enterprise Connect next month will provide great opportunities to learn more about CCaaS and options after Avaya. I’ll be joining inContact (and former Avaya) customer LanguageLine Services as they discuss how moving to the cloud not only helped them to quickly scale past 8,000 plus agents, but also enabled a digital transformation of their core business. I’m also fortunate to join industry analyst Sheila McGee-Smith and industry colleagues for a panel discussion “Is Cloud Contact Center the New Normal?”