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Avaya’s Latest News from a UK Perspective: CommsTrader Exclusive

Our Exclusive Interview with Avaya’s UK Managing Director Ioan MacRae

Ioan MacRae - Avaya UK MD
Ioan MacRae, Managing Director for Avaya UK

If you’ve been following the news recently (and we hope you have), you’ll know that Avaya recently revealed some incredible information about their ongoing chapter 11 deal. The latest press releases, which combine announcements about their new CEO Jim Chirico, with insights into the third quarter of Avaya’s financial year, also outlined that the brand is well on track towards their exit from Chapter 11 sometime in autumn.

I was lucky enough to get the chance to chat with the UK MD for Avaya, Ioan MacRae, and discuss what the future looks like for Avaya, now it seems that they’re officially on their way to a successful exit from chapter 11 bankruptcy, and a brighter future in the unified communications and contact centre markets.

How Does Avaya UK Feel about the Latest News?

Ioan was keen to note that he was delighted to to share the latest news from Avaya, and he wasn’t the only one who was feeling positive and upbeat following the latest press releases. Though Ioan had recently been on leave, he had been keeping in close contact with the team. Today, he shared said all the Avaya team, as well as their partners and customers, were thrilled to see the progress that’s occurred because of the lien one group alignment.

“The latest developments have meant that we can approach the courts and start to really firm up both our path towards exit from chapter 11 and our time scale for the future. The team is elated.”

It’s fair to say that it’s been a pretty tough year for Avaya, for obvious reasons. Though their entry into Chapter 11 was a voluntary and strategic move, it’s required a great deal of work on the behalf of the global Avaya team. Finally, the brand has an official method in place for exiting chapter 11, along with a clear timescale for when things are going to progress.

“We were working very hard yesterday on sharing the news with our partners and customers. The last 24 to 48 hours has been hugely well-received by everyone in the Avaya community.”

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What Have You Been Doing to Steady the Ship in the UK?

In response to all the uncertainty that Avaya has been facing recently, I was interested to find out what strategies Ioan had put into place to keep everything moving along smoothly from the UK side of Avaya operations.

Ioan responded that for the UK team, it had pretty much been “business as usual”. He commented that since “Avaya Inc.” had filed for chapter 11, the UK entity for the business was largely untouched by the change. While, of course, the situation has been significant for them, as the company continues to trade as “Avaya”, the team has remained largely unmoved by the chapter 11 process.

“I think that the team has done an excellent job from an internal and external communication point of view. For us, the focus has been on keeping the brand on track, and making sure that everyone is updated regarding the latest news as we move through chapter 11”.

Ioan noted that the idea of chapter 11 bankruptcy hadn’t been a worrying one for the UK team, as the staff, partners, and customers of Avaya all understood why the company was filing for the process. Ultimately, the purpose behind the filing had nothing to do with the operational performance of Avaya – in fact, the brand today is healthier and more successful than it’s ever been. We can see some of that success just by looking at the third quarter financial results.The chapter 11 bankruptcy was brought about entirely as a strategic move to restructure debt.

“The team in the UK remains focused on keeping the channel partners informed, and ensuring that everyone understands what’s happening with the brand. The partner community has remained loyal and understanding during this time. They’ve stood by us without panic, and this atmosphere has resonated into our consumer base too.”

What’s the Key Message to Channel Partners and Customers Right Now?

I asked Ioan to outline what he thought the key message was for customers and channel partners today, as Avaya moves towards a stronger future. He responded that the Avaya community always knew exactly why the company had moved into chapter 11 and that they also understood that the brand would be exiting the process stronger, and more productive than ever.

“We’re coming out of chapter 11 with a stronger cash flow, and more opportunities to invest into our R&D departments and the UC and UC&C portfolio. Our partners have stood firmly by us, and the UK has held onto an incredible ongoing performance, with continuing growth quarter upon quarter.”

Ioan attributes much of the overall sense of calm in the community to the transparent communication that Avaya has focused on throughout their chapter 11 journey. While there’s been a lot of challenges for Avaya to face, the team has worked incredibly hard to ensure an open dialogue between the brand and their partners and customers.

“We’ve been transparent and honest through the entire process. That means that everyone knows what’s going on, and there’s been no real element for rumour, as we’ve always revealed the absolute truth. As you know, we’ve always planned to exit chapter 11 during late summer, early autumn, and now we’re right on track to do exactly that.”

Moving Forward, What’s Next for Avaya UK?

With things looking so positive, I was keen to know what Ioan predicted for the future of Avaya UK. He noted that for the rest of the financial year, the team is planning to continue as usual. “After all, we’re exiting chapter 11, but we’re not out of it yet.”

Once the chapter 11 exit is over, Avaya UK will be focusing on working alongside the rest of the global team to make changes for the future, from financial plans for growth to the ways that Avaya is going to celebrate their exit with events, marketing, and more. “We’re going to remain as visible as ever, and give our partners very clear updates as we develop.”

Avaya has been in a state of transition for the last four years now, moving into the software and services business. In the UK, the team has been very focused on this process. June was the fastest growing month to date  and Avaya added over 10,000 seats on its cloud ‘Powered By’ platforms in the last few months.

“The plan is to keep going strong as we move into the next year. We’ll be introducing more cloud solutions for the enterprise space into the market, and I’ll be focusing on cloud services after October as we continue to grow.”

Ultimately, it looks like things are looking up for Avaya, both in the UK and on a global scale. As their chapter 11 journey comes to an end, the brand is feeling more positive and motivated than ever.

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Written by Rob Scott

Rob Scott

Hi, I'm Rob Scott - Publisher. Fanatical about Unified Comms, Cloud & Contact Centres :)