Friday, December 5, 2008

Avaya Canada Analyst Day

Yesterday I attended Avaya Canada's analyst day here in Toronto. I participated last year, and it was good to gauge their progress since then. The local analyst community is pretty small, so it was a very friendly session.

For most of us, the main attraction was meeeting the new head of Avaya Canada, Gerard Baglieri. For what it's worth, he goes by the title VP/GM, so I really can't say CEO. Maybe Avaya's culture is more egalitarian than most, and maybe it's just a Canadian thing. Anyhow, Gerard is from NY, and during my 1:1 session, he strikes me as being very capable and focused, so don't let his title fool you.

I attended Avaya's global analyst event a few back in Boston, and for those of us who were there, most of yesterday was familiar territory. As such, I don't have much news to report, other than the fact that Avaya Canada seems very well aligned with the corporate storyline.

They did address some of the structural differences and dynamics of the domestic market, and how their plans to expand the channels up here will be more challenging. The difficulty with Canada is that the SMB market is more heavily skewed towards the very low end of the scale, and these businesses are often not a good fit for Avaya's offerings. Of course all vendors face that problem here, but it's fair to say Avaya will have to be more aggressive in Canada than the U.S. to achieve their stated target of driving 85% of their sales through channels within the next 3 years. Gerard has a tall order ahead, and time will tell.

We saw a variety of presentations throughout the day, and they all reinforced the core themes we saw in Boston - namely, Avaya feels they are ready now to become the #1 player, the company is now very focused on two main markets - Unified Communications and Contact Centers, and the overall business strategy is to become more channel-centric.

I elaborated on this further in my Boston post and elsewhere, and will say again that there's a good story here. Yesterday's session had both analysts and media, so there was some public coverage in the trades. I can steer you to one of these if you care to read more.

To wrap up, here are a few photos from yesterday...

Gerard Baglieri


Todd Abbott - he presented in Boston - was nice to see him come up to Toronto for this


Amir Hameed talking about contact centers


Colleague Ronald Gruia from Frost checking out the bat-phone, with a bit of a halo around him. He's special, but not that special! :-) He just happened to be standing close to the overhead light, although it sure looks like he's radiating brilliance....


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