Cisco, competitors infiltrate Avaya customer doubts

Cisco, Mitel, NEC and others are targeting Avaya’s customers as the networking company goes through Chapter 11 bankruptcy


It is not surprising that Cisco, Mitel and others are targeting Avaya’s customers as the networking company goes through Chapter 11 bankruptcy but sometimes it is a bit startling in its boldness.

For example, Cisco wrote: “Let’s not dance around it. Avaya’s recent announcements have put a lot of people into the decision process. Change and uncertainty usually do. So then, what to do next? I’m not bold enough to say, ‘Hey, come on over and write me a check right now.’ That’s not how this works. It’s not an overnight decision. You have to figure out who you trust with your unified communications and customer care solutions. And to get there means asking a lot of questions – and getting the answers you need.”

In another post Cisco wrote : The typical pattern is that risk-averse companies diversify their platform choices early. Then, if one vendor begins to look risky, they quickly reconsolidate on a trusted vendor in a controlled manner. We might call these companies “early adopters” of risk mitigation. Other companies wait longer before migrating from at-risk platforms or vendors. Although this can make business sense, it can also greatly increase the difficulty and costs of the eventual migration. We saw this with Nortel in 2009, Aspect in 2016, and now with Avaya. Cisco says the kind of questions to ask during these times are:

  • Will support for existing hardware continue?
  • Will maintenance costs rise?
  • What about innovation? Is there a roadmap?
  • How can an unstable vendor transform how businesses care for their own customers?

Mitel wrote on its website: “If you’re an Avaya customer or were considering Avaya, Mitel is ready to help. With Mitel, your investment is future-ready, even as you grow or shift between on-premises communications, cloud communications or a hybrid of the two. Mitel’s expansive portfolio of customer experience, mobility and collaboration solutions provide a unified, comprehensive platform for your business communications – no matter what the future holds.”

NEC wrote: “What I know from my own 30-plus years of experience with NEC is that financial stability through diversification and creating operational efficiency has benefited not only us as a company, but our customers and partners through the years. Continuous improvement and innovation are probably the two biggest reasons for NEC’s 117+ years of longevity. The next reason is our commitment to providing quality, future-proof unified communications and collaboration tools that will last and be relevant for many years to come. As a result, NEC has always had a ready willingness to step in and offer help to customers and partners who need it the most. If you are a customer or partner of Avaya and are unsure about your future, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.”

Other competitors such as ShoreTel, Microsoft, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise and others no doubt have some plans to attract Avaya customers who are nervous about the vendors status.  

There is obviously some customer concern being expressed on the Reddit Networking subreddit site, which starts of stating: “So...who's ready to start learning CISCO?” Another Reddit poster wrote: “I already retrained from Nortel once and look how that turned out. Not hugely optimistic at the moment. Feels like Avaya are behind others at the moment and with this news, what right minded Telecoms manager will sanction buying new Avaya equipment right now?....”

For its part Avaya corporate treasurer John Sullivan wrote in Network World about how Avaya arrived at Chapter 11 saying among other things “After looking at the multiple options of how to deal with our debt, we decided it was a critical next step in our transformation from a hardware company to a software and services company and the best path forward for our customers, partners and employees. Our business is healthy and performing well. We have successfully transformed from our hardware heritage, with 75% of revenue now generated by software and services. All of our recent products are virtualized and run on various hardware platforms. We continue to be number one or two in the key markets we serve, and are at the beginning of new product cycles across our business.

Restructuring through chapter 11 will reduce Avaya’s debt burden and corresponding interest expense, enhancing our financial flexibility and enabling further investment in innovation and growth. We continue to support mission-critical infrastructure and services in all sectors, including education, government, technology and healthcare. The restructuring will enable us to focus on our core mission and future success. It remains business as usual for our company and we are keenly focused on minimizing disruption to our customers, partners and employees.”

Some of Avaya’s competitors of course have been mentioned as potential buyers of Avaya’s networking business –Arista, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, NEC, Dell, HPE among them.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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