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Avaya Cloud Preps Partners for ‘New, Groundbreaking Technologies’

Avaya's Mercer Rowe at Engage 2018

(pictured above: Avaya Cloud’s Mercer Rowe on stage at Avaya Engage in New Orleans, Jan. 30)

AVAYA ENGAGE — Partners will be integral to the growth and success of Avaya‘s new organization focused on driving cloud products and services.

That’s according to Mercer Rowe, formerly with IBM, who is the new vice president and general manager of Avaya Cloud. He’s been spreading the gospel of Avaya Cloud all this week at Avaya Engage in New Orleans.

Jim Chirico, Avaya’s president and CEO, said the company has “tremendous uplift with the channel” and there’s more room to grow, especially with the move to cloud.

Avaya's Mercer Rowe

Avaya’s Mercer Rowe

Rowe’s responsibilities will span public, private and hybrid cloud offers, including cloud R&D, application development and services, as well as sales for the business unit.

Last month, Avaya emerged from chapter 11 bankruptcy as a public company with about $350 million in cash and a little less than half the debt it had when it filed last January.

“We have a lot of great partners that are already hosting our services and are already offering ‘cloudy’ business models on top of our products, but they’re having to do that on top of products that were developed for enterprise use cases,” Rowe said. “As we build out this cloud service, it’s going to allow us to learn all of the use cases around how you build a cloud product, how you multi-tenant it and so forth, and then I’m going to give that IP to partners. So I expect partners to continue to host our services, but we’re just going to make it more efficient because they’re going to get the advantage of all the IP that I develop in the cloud so that they can then run their own multi-tenanted services and they can actually run it with the same tech that I’m running it.” (Editor’s Note: Read the full Q&A on Channel Futures.)

The cloud unit also will benefit partners that don’t want to host or who are changing their business models to more services, Rowe said.

“They’ll be able to broker using our new agent model into the cloud service so they can sell — and not only can they sell, but we’re creating a model where they are sticky, and they are attached to each order so they not only benefit from the initial sale, but they benefit from every up-sale, every renewal and increasing consumption, which is unique to this model in the industry,” he said.

As vice president of strategic partners for IBM’s cloud and Watson platforms, Rowe led global cloud and artificial-intelligence initiatives. Before joining IBM, he founded and served as CEO of VMware vCloud Service, a joint venture with SoftBank to deliver cloud services in Japan. He also incubated VMware’s own cloud service business, and spent a decade with cloud-powered startups, building sales, channel and services organizations.

“This will be my fourth company affecting a cloud transition, going from a typical kind of on-premises, perpetual license products and maintenance, to the cloud,” Rowe said. “I’ve learned a lot and I have scars, and I think a lot of times it’s that experience of making this change that positions me well and also our business well because I understand that we’ve already done a lot of the hard work. While the company was private, it already made a lot of those transformational elements on the company side, and now it’s just a matter of getting the products into play.”

Mercer hopes a year from now that Avaya Cloud is rapidly releasing new solutions, that “we are at the center of everyone’s discussion on communications strategy, and I would love to have people come to Engage … knowing that Avaya’s going to announce new, groundbreaking technologies.”


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