Avaya will be a "strong and healthy organisation" in 2017, according to new UK managing director Ioan MacRae, who reiterated that the firm's current financial difficulties are having no impact on business.
MacRae took the UK helm at Avaya last week, taking over from Steve Rafferty who left the vendor to join an Avaya channel partner.
Avaya hit headlines last month when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US, sparking concerns for its UK partners and customers.
MacRae reiterated to CRN that the financial restructuring will have no impact on the vendor's UK channel, as it sets its sights on taking its mid-market cloud solution into its UK customer base.
Avaya has been accused of not transitioning effectively to a services and subscription-based revenue model, but MacRae rebuffed these claims and said that in 2016 almost 75 per cent of Avaya's revenue was software and services based.
"This is not an operational restructuring we're in; it is purely debt restructuring and balance sheets," he said. "Give us a few more months and we'll be a very strong and healthy organisation moving forward.
"By the end of the calendar year 80 per cent of our revenue will be software services. We've already grown significantly over our four-year transition as a business to achieve nearly 75 per cent of our revenue in software and services in calendar year 2016, which is significant growth."
Catching up with competition
Earlier this month ShoreTel CEO Don Joos accused market leaders Avaya and Cisco of not moving to a hosted-services model quickly enough, opening the door for challengers to steal their market share.
MacRae said that Avaya has seen good traction with its enterprise offering, working with the likes of BT and Capita in the UK, but that 2017 is the year it will push its "Powered by Avaya" mid-market offering which is set to launch fully later this month after a soft launch with a small group of partners last year.
"If I look at our mid-market with Powered by Avaya, we have had some competition go to market ahead of us, particularly Mitel, and in fairness they've done a very good job a year or 18 months ahead of us," he said.
"We wanted to ensure that we had the right product, instead of launching and making mistakes on the technology… and the ease of deploying, configuring and invoicing. I believe we made the right decision in getting all of that R&D correct."
MacRae picked out Avaya's hybrid offering as a key differentiator between its own solution and the competition's.
He added that while the SMB space is already some way down the line to moving to the cloud, the mid-market is only now starting to move.
"Cloud has been adopted at the low end which is not a market we're focusing on - I don't think we've missed that or are late," he said.
"The market we are going to focus on is starting to transition so I think we've entered it at the right time, but I think the hybrid deployment is going to be critical."
Rufus Grig, group strategy director at Avaya partner Maintel, said that Avaya will benefit by bringing its mid-market solution to the market slightly later than some of the other vendors, adding that Maintel is in the process of launching the offering.
"Personally we'll be doing it with our cloud platform and with our managed services wrap, but it provides a good opportunity for people wanting either a complete lift-and-shift replacement or a move from traditional PBX environments, to somebody wanting a UC delivered by the cloud," he said.
"It also gives people who have historic Avaya investment an opportunity to continue to use some of that investment, but be able to have it delivered and managed for them from the cloud.
"They have put some significant investment into the provisional tools, the OSS/BSS stuff, so I do think they are coming to market with that in an already quite mature state, whereas some of the early entrants were a bit less joined up."
Grig added that the quality of Avaya's service has not weakened since the Chapter 11 filing announcement last month.
"Our experience of them is that it is business as usual," he said.
"We are getting exactly the same level of support, the same level of activity from them, so it is absolutely business as usual.
"I've been working with Avaya and their predecessor companies for a good couple of decades and I wouldn't carry on doing it if I didn't think it was a good solution."
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