Avaya CEO Lou D'Ambrosio discusses UC "for the masses" and Avaya's relationship with Microsoft, IBM.

J. Nicholas Hoover, Senior Editor, InformationWeek Government

March 17, 2008

2 Min Read

InformationWeek: It's becoming pretty clear that deep integration with business processes is, or will become, a key driver and differentiator for UC. What stronger role can Avaya play here?

D'Ambrosio: This is our sweet spot. Last year at VoiceCon, we introduced the whole discussion of communication-enabled business processes. Our strongly held belief is that embedding communications into the core fabric of customers' businesses is where the real transformational benefit is. When you use unified communications to enhance the customer interface, it's of a much smaller benefit magnitude than when you're embedding it into business processes.

If you think about our company and our competencies in contact centers, they're derived from the CRM set of business processes. Our core architecture, development, and the way we think are based on business processes. We now have several hundred customers in which we have communications-enabled business processes being deployed. Some examples include working with government agencies such that when there is an alert, it automatically notifies the people who need to be notified so they can take action immediately. It includes working with an organization with ERP processes such that when their inventory is too high or too low, they have a set of processes to notify companies that need to be notified across the supply chain automatically, compressing the inventory management cycle time from two hours to two minutes.

We're working with a financial institution on bad-debt processing; in the past, when a questionable transaction would come, they would deny the transaction and the person would have to resolve the situation. Now, they could automatically resolve the situation on the spot and reap the proceeds from the transaction.

Think about this as the natural hand-offs in any business process as now being automated. That's where we're putting a large portion of our focus.

At the end of the day, companies make products or services and deliver them to customers. It's in those two workflows that we're now embedding communications to compress the cycle time. The very technology that's allowing us to speak on the phone right now is connecting sub-processes in an organization. We purchased Ubiquity a little bit over a year ago to accelerate that, and we're ahead of schedule in terms of the number of deployments.

That's where I think the biggest transformation in the industry is going to occur. It's finally going to take this term of "business process management" that's been used for the last decade and bring it to fruition. The problem's never been to speed up the process, but to create this closed-loop system between processes. What people have never done is to embed communication into the processes. Now, that's what's happening—because of the way technology's evolved, it's moving into a set of applets, it's moving into a set of services.

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J. Nicholas Hoover

Senior Editor, InformationWeek Government

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