While 2017 was an interesting year for most companies in the UC industry, few organisations experienced quite as much complexity as Avaya, who entered and exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy within less than 12 months.
The communications brand started 2017 on a sour note, entering Chapter 11 to restructure some of their debt, and hopefully adjust their strategy to embrace a stronger future on the other side. During the restructuring process, the company left the networking business and sold that side of their company to Extreme Networks so that they could focus more exclusively on their contact centre portfolio.
By the end of November, CEO Jim Chirico was pleased to announce that the brand’s exit from chapter 11 had been approved and that the company would be entering the New Year with a stronger balance sheet and a host of new opportunities ahead. Because the organisation reduced their debt load by a significant $3 billion, they began 2018 with the excitement and exhilaration of a business reborn, ready to explore the opportunities of this digitally-transformed environment.
Though the Unified Communications market and contact centre will set the foundations for what Avaya hopes to achieve in the years ahead, Chirico noted that in 2018, the business will also be looking for new ways to complete their transformation to a services, software, and cloud-focused provider. The next step on the roadmap was to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) – something that may be on the cards a lot sooner than most experts would have predicted.
Listing on the New York Stock Exchange
On the 11th of January 2018, Avaya announced that they had launched a request to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissions so that they could be listed on the NYSE from the 17th of January 2018. The company will be listed on the exchange under the ticker “AVYA”, where they’ll begin their public trading on the open market.
Chirico noted that a listing on the NYSE was an important milestone for Avaya as they step out of the shadows of 2017, into the light of 2018 as a public company. The brand suggested that they were proud to be listed alongside other companies on the NYSE, and were looking forward to the enhanced transparency the change would give their stockholders.
The president of the NYSE, Tom Farley, also spoke out about the listing, saying that Avaya’s position as a leader in the world of communication and collaboration services made them the perfect addition to their community of growing technology organisations. The NYSE is thrilled that Avaya chose to list on their platform, and they’ll be looking forward to serving the brand in the year ahead.
To celebrate the successful listing, an Avaya representative will be ringing the opening bell for the NYSE at 9:30 am ET tomorrow, the 17th of January 2018.
A New Avaya: Stronger than Ever and Raring to Go
It seems that with the New Year finally in full swing, Avaya is truly stronger than ever. Free from the burden of Chapter 11, the company is now carrying a much lighter debt load, which means that they have more resources than ever before ready to carry them into the competitive marketplace. Complete with their newly revamped executive suite, and an updated board, Avaya is fresh-faced and ready to tackle the challenges that lie ahead.
The current financial framework will give Avaya the flexibility it has been craving over the last year, as it looked forward to a day when it could begin investment in the UC and contact centre side of the business. As the company transitions from a hardware initiative to a solution for software and services, Avaya will have to be more innovative and aggressive than ever as we move through 2018.
The good news, of course, is that Avaya already has a strong partner and customer base to help support them through this transition. Even during the complex bankruptcy scenario, Avaya held onto some loyal customers, signing 4,000 new contracts in the last twelve months alone, and bringing on 1,000 new partners. This will be important for the company this year, as revenue for the channel represented around 73% of Avaya’s total revenue in 2017.
Now that the NYSE filing is complete, Avaya will be continuing its plans to leave 2017 in its wake, bigger and stronger than ever before. They’ll be continuing their investment in their channel partners, and leveraging new distribution and sales channels to help accelerate greater customer adoption throughout their network.
Competing in the Cloud for 2018
Towards the end of 2017, Avaya announced some of their plans for the following years, and what they hoped to achieve after the successful exit from Chapter 11. Along with the clear plan to join the New York Stock Exchange, Chirico noted that an important element of the go-to-market strategy would be to expand market absorption of new products through a global network of distributors, partners, and value-added resellers.
It’s clear to see that Avaya are firmly on the path to the brighter future that they spent 2017 planning. Not only are they filing with the NYSE, but Avaya also recently revealed a newly-formed organisation at the beginning of this year, which is designed to focus exclusively on driving cloud-based services and products.
Avaya Cloud is just another element of the Avaya roadmap, which will be driven by the Former vice president for Watson and Cloud Platforms at IBM, Mercer Rowe. According to Avaya, Rowe will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge into the business that will help the company to expand its opportunities as it completes the transition into the software and services industry.
According to Rowe, the transformative nature of the Unified Communication and Collaboration market is still in its early stages, and the growth available for Avaya could represent one of the biggest cloud opportunities available in the current market. As the brand continues to accelerate along its pre-established path for success, we can only wait and see what new announcements they send our way in the coming months.
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