Channel Daily News

Avaya’s new head of cloud wants to put Avaya back on the map when it comes to the cloud

The showfloor at Avaya Engage 2018. Photo by Alex Coop.

New Orleans, La. – With a new leader at the helm of its cloud services, Avaya is hoping to increase its footprint in the cloud market, speed up its development process and ensure partners and customers “Think Avaya, think cloud.”

That message, repeated more than a dozen times during Avaya Engage 2018, is one that Mercer Rowe, the company’s new senior vice president and general manager of Avaya Cloud, wants at the forefront of every product they release.

“I found that this is a company that is extremely well positioned in that market,” says Rowe, adding this level of emphasis on the cloud has been a long time coming. “They have great technology that’s already living in the cloud.”

Rowe, who’s been at Avaya for only six weeks in his new role, suggests his new job isn’t a “start-from-zero situation,” and that Avaya has a loyal partner and customer base. His previous job was with IBM in a senior cloud-related role. Prior to that, he was with VMware for seven years working with cloud.

Rowe wants every Avaya product as a cloud-oriented offer first, but that doesn’t mean everything has to go a public cloud.

Mercer Rowe, Avaya’s new vice president and general manager of Avaya Cloud. Photo by Alex Coop.


“I don’t measure success by having a certain number of seats in the cloud. Success is moving customers to a cloudy business model,” he explains. “A customer should be able to purchase our products for wherever they choose to deploy them.”

That could be on premise, colocation or the public cloud, he says, and both customers and partners can expect new features and functionalities to come out at a break-neck pace. Rowe wants six to eight-week development cycles. In a separate interview with,  Corey Mindel, Channel Leader for Avaya Canada, says Rowe wants to eventually get it down to one.

“He is actually pushing the team to do this,” says Mindel.

Avaya’s acquisition of Spoken is a big part of the company’s overall cloud strategy.

“Leveraging our acquisition of Spoken will allow us to extend our cloud footprint very rapidly,” says Rowe.

Avaya introduces Ava

Contact centres can always use some extra help.

Avaya unveiled Avaya Ava, a cloud-based messaging solution that offers AI capabilities for social messaging, on its main stage and touted its natural language processing, machine learning and ability to engage customers. Ava can support 34 languages and Facebook, Twitter, WeChat and LINE, with more to be added as the solution evolves.

“While it’s nearly impossible for a company to dedicate enough live agents to monitor and be responsive to all channels including social media and messaging platforms, an AI-enabled solution offers the capability to quickly engage the customer as the first – and potentially, the entire interaction in a highly satisfactory experience,” says Mary Wardley, IDC, vice president, customer care and CRM.