Last week, 14 ConvergeOne thought leaders traveled to Austin to participate in 27 sessions during Avaya ENGAGE 2019. Many remarked upon the high level of enthusiasm that was present throughout the event, as attendees recognized exciting innovations with Avaya technologies and the IT industry that are making the technology of tomorrow available today. For ConvergeOne, the excitement continued all the way to the event’s conclusion, as we were recognized as Avaya’s 2018 U.S. Service Partner of the Year.
Looking back, our thought leaders identified three areas that emerged as the primary focuses of their conversations: the evolution of communications, the balance between security and agility, and the path forward to innovation.
The Evolution of Communications
Andrew Prokop, Strategic Enterprise Architect: “What struck me most about ENGAGE 2019 was the enthusiasm from Avaya, the attendees, and the vendors. In addition to being excited about the specific technologies displayed and talked about, everyone was thrilled by the overall momentum of the communications industry. Topics such as blockchain, IoT, and artificial intelligence were top of mind for nearly every participant. We all realized just how far we have come from previous conferences where discussions of DSPs, dial-tone, and SIP trunks ruled.
“This was also the year where cloud was embraced in a tangible way. While cloud was the talk of past conferences, 2019 was the year when Avaya and its partners had the products and offers that took it from PowerPoint slides to market-ready solutions.”
The Balance Between Security + Agility
Chris Clauss, Manager, UC Engineering Professional Services Delivery: “I had the pleasure of presenting a session on security and the use of certificates in the Avaya environment. Given the attendance, this is a topic that is top of mind to many of our customers, who are trying to balance the security requirements dictated by their compliance teams while also maintaining their systems in a nimble fashion in a multi-vendor environment. ConvergeOne can help our customers navigate these conversations and come up with a plan that meets the needs of the UC and security environments, as they will only be more concerned about security as time goes by.
“My session focused specifically on planning certificate infrastructures for customers, but they are also asking about many other security concerns they have. This includes encryption of voice calls and signaling, managing end-user passwords for the Avaya Aura environment, and hardening systems against threats from both external and internal actors. Customers want to prevent their systems from being attacked, particularly as technologies for SIP trunking, remote worker, and web-based collaboration are being embraced. These technologies provide great productivity and cost savings, but security concerns must be understood for successful deployment.”
The Path Forward to Innovation
Andrew Prokop, Strategic Enterprise Architect: “The most important path forward is the one that leads out of the IT and telecom departments and into the business units. To best take advantage of the innovations displayed at ENGAGE 2019, technology directors need to work hand-in-hand with business leaders and the C-suite to develop and deliver solutions that result in outstanding customer experiences. While cutting-edge technologies like AI will definitely play a part in these transformations, they need to be applied where it makes sense and in a packaging that is elastic, robust, secure, and, most importantly, profitable. Technology for the sake of technology will only lead to unmet expectations and out-of-control costs. While some enterprises will attempt a go-it-alone strategy, most will realize that it is essential to find and work with partners armed with the right skills, methodologies, and products to go from concept to design to implementation to success. That is clearly a space that ConvergeOne excels in.”
Kathy Sobus, Senior Director, Customer Experience Strategy: “My biggest takeaway was in the area of customer experience. There are so many ways that consumers transact in the marketplace that at times it can be overwhelming for businesses to think about a path forward. We spoke with many attendees, and for the most part, they are all in the same situation: They know they need to digitally transform themselves, so how do they go about doing so while remaining thoughtful about how they spend their budgets? Much of this conversation turns to various consumption models. Of course, everyone wants competitive advantages, so how can they consume services in a way that can be adapted or modified to fit their business needs and gain those advantages? Although there is no silver bullet, there are strategies available to think about what makes the most sense for each business.”
Dan Burgin, Customer Experience Solution Architect: “Customers are showing interest in embracing agent-facing Answer Bots, as they are a safe means for customers to dip their toes into the technology without risking their brand with a customer-facing Bot to start.”
Chris Beck, Director, Monitoring Tools: “During my customer conversations while demonstrating ConvergeOne OnGuard at the booth, it became clear that customers continue to need tools that can work with a significantly higher detail and tools that can help with user experience. For example, the level of detail needed to ensure that carriers are in compliance with SLA requires that the tool have access to the network packets being sent to and from the provider. Presenting this in a manner that is easily consumed and understood will be a significant differentiator in the marketplace.”
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ConvergeOne is a 14-time Avaya Business Partner of the Year, with more than 1,500 certifications. Learn more about our partnership with Avaya.