Integrating Acquisitions

Avaya, with Esna Now Under Its Wing, Meets Customers Where They Are

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  December 21, 2015

Avaya (News - Alert) in May completed the acquisition of real-time collaboration and communications business Esna Technologies Inc. At October’s ITEXPO in Anaheim, Calif., the former head of Esna told the story of how the newly combined companies are delivering frictionless unified communications experiences.

Mohammad Nezarati (News - Alert), who is now general manager and vice president of UC applications at Avaya, started the conversation by noting that there is more computing power in our mobile devices today than there was in the computers NASA used to send the first man to the moon. Those devices have led to people becoming accustomed to the always-on lifestyle. Indeed, the mobile phone has become so integral to our way of life, said Nezarati, that while 6-7 billion people in the world have access to mobile phones only 4.5 billion have access to a working toilet.

He also noted the growth of at least a couple modes of communication. There were 12 million emails sent per day in 2000, he said, but this year that number is at 204 billion. Text messages, which are a form of real-time as opposed to store-and-forward technology, are also on the rise, he said. There were 12 million text messages sent in June 2000 and 561 billion sent in June 2014. This reflects the trend, he said, that people are expected to be available all the time, and make themselves available pretty much all of the time.

The move to the cloud is another trend Nezarati noted. And he pointed to the popularity of cloud-based services like Salesforce for CRM (12 million users), Jive for social collaboration (15 million users), and an array of other on-demand services that can be used for businesses. The wide array of such solutions point to the fact that we all use different tools to get work done, so each organization will have a plethora of applications in use by different departments and individuals.

Rather than meeting customers where they are, however, the UC industry as a whole has expected people and businesses to change their workflows. But what Esna did, and what led it to being acquired by Avaya, is that it focused on embedding its tools into the workflows people already have to get the job done.

Nezarati and Davide Petramala provided a demonstration of the Avaya/Esna frictionless experience. Users of the solution can, for example, be in a web browser and see a colleague who is online in the right margin of the page and just click to send that person a text, or call him. As they chat, users can go into a presentation, and that conversation and document are in the session and the platform knows who’s in the interaction. While they are in the document one of the participants can also elect to escalate the communication to a call, again via one click.

Petramala also noted the hassle that’s often involved in joining a meeting. A person has to go to his or her calendar, and then remember and key in the telephone number. With the Avaya/Esna solution, however, the user can instead simply go to his or her existing calendar application, click on the meeting time, and an application called Agenda looks at the default calendar on the phone and pops up a screen asking how the person wants to join the meeting. Again, that can be done with a single click.  

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere