Lee Shorten joined Avaya in April 2009 with a brief to revamp the company's vertical markets programme. Here, he talks to V3.co.uk about the future of unified communications, and how the recent acquisition of Nortel's Enterprise Division fits in with Avaya's plans.
V3.co.uk: What are your thoughts on the
acquisition of Nortel's Enterprise Division?
Lee Shorten: I am very excited to be with Avaya at a time when it has acquired Nortel, as the two companies have a lot of technologies that are highly complementary. With Avaya and Nortel previously the two largest unified communications (UC) firms in the UK, it is now a great chance to expand Avaya's market position and combine the knowledge of both company's research and development teams to offer customers even more from our products.
How do you think Nortel customers will react to the roadmap?
I am sure that businesses previously with Nortel will have breathed a huge sigh of relief to have heard they will be migrated slowly into Avaya without any demands or necessity to rip and replace their existing infrastructures. We have 50 to 60 new channel partners, and we are going through all the relevant documentation to find out the various level of services they were on, and we hope they will stay with Avaya now the acquisition is completed.
More generally, do you think businesses are sufficiently aware of the
benefits of UC?
Not completely, but it's getting there. We hope that by the end of 2010 the term UC will be fully understood in the entire technology space, not just by those in the industry. It's imperative that we make clear to businesses the benefits, both financial and time-saving, that UC provides, by bringing together existing individual components of a communications system into a joined-up system.
Did the recession affect the growth of UC?
It did. With budgets cut, firms were not able to invest in new areas of technology. However, we hope to see many companies now looking at UC as a good way to invest as budgets return. With many firms now operating with fewer staff than previously, it is important that they take the best approach to managing communications efficiently through technology, rather than simply increasing their headcounts again.
Why is UC an area worth investing in?
UC offers a great way for businesses to get a good return on investment by offering backwards compatibility with existing infrastructure products, including those from separate companies, and to get more from existing investments without the need to replace infrastructure. This is all part of our commitment to open standards on UC.
Are open standards the best way for UC to progress?
We certainly think so. Using an open standard means we can open up our technology for applications to be developed that can simply 'plug in and play' on existing infrastructures, offering customers the most possible benefits and allowing the open compatibility of products designed and manufactured by other companies.
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