(pictured above: Spoken Communications President & CEO Mohamad Afshar, left, with Avaya President & CEO Jim Chirico)
**Editor’s Note: Please click here for a recap of the biggest channel-impacting merger and acquisition news from November and December.**
AVAYA ENGAGE — Fresh out of chapter 11 bankruptcy, Avaya opened its annual Engage conference Monday in New Orleans by announcing it is acquiring Spoken Communications, a provider of enterprise contact-center-as-a-service (CCaaS) offerings.
The conference, Avaya’s biggest Engage ever, has drawn more than 3,000 partners and customers to the Big Easy. Jim Chirico, Avaya’s president and CEO, told attendees the “rumors of Avaya’s death have been greatly exaggerated.”
“We’re back and stronger than ever,” he said. “When someone knocks you down, it’s how you get up and how you carry yourself that matters. It’s a new day, it’s a new team, it’s a new company. We’re at the beginning of the journey, and we look forward to helping guide you on yours.”
Last month, Avaya emerged from chapter 11 bankruptcy with about $350 million in cash and a little less than half of the debt it had when it filed last January. And earlier this month, Avaya officially became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
Chirico said the following are among Avaya’s key focus areas: transforming the company to drive revenue growth; developing compelling plans for taking immediate action; building a “world-class organization that attracts the best talent”; innovating so it can provide partners and customers with a competitive advantage; and being “customer-led in everything we do.”
Avaya will spend more on R&D, people and processes, and possibly more M&A, he said.
“We’re playing to win,” Chirico said. “We’re going to be aggressive.”
The Spoken acquisition, which includes more than 170 patents and patent applications, will be funded by cash on hand. It follows on the heels of a co-development partnership formed by Avaya and Spoken last year to provide CCaaS offerings to Avaya’s business process outsourcing customers.
Terms of the deal, which is expected to close this quarter, were not disclosed.
Spoken Conversation Center, Spoken’s CCaaS, provides a set of artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled conversational services from a globally available cloud-first platform that contact centers use to analyze, learn from and respond to customer conversations. Spoken’s cloud-native, multitenant architecture is integrated with Avaya Aura and Elite technologies. As a result, it also provides an architecture for both Avaya’s omnichannel offerings, such as Oceana, and it’s UCaaS.
Chirico said the Spoken deal is a “game-changer and certainly differentiates us from the past.”
“This marriage enables you, our customers and partners, to really evolve to the cloud at the pace that you want with the latest technologies to leapfrog everyone else and do great things,” said Mohamad Afshar, Spoken’s president and CEO. “Our successful partnership has demonstrated that working together, Avaya and Spoken can deliver a compelling, cloud-native CCaaS portfolio for Avaya customers that offers every customer, from small and midmarket businesses to global enterprises, a seamless path to …