NEW ORLEANS – Today, at the largest Avaya Engage event in the company’s history, Avaya announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Spoken Communications, which makes enterprise Contact Center as a Service solutions. The two companies had already been partners over the past year. The amount paid was not disclosed, and will be funded by cash on hand. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of fiscal 2018.
“I’m thrilled to announce this new strategic acquisition,” said Jim Chirico, Avaya’s CEO, in his opening keynote at the event. “Spoken is cloud-native, and was purpose-built off the Avaya platform to fit us. Spoken will be a game-changer for us, that will differentiate us from the pack.”
Chirico said that while Spoken has been a Contact Center solution to data, Avaya will be expanding it to Unified Communications as well. That will also broaden its total addressable market, beyond the large customers who have bought it up until now.
Spoken has been positioned in the large enterprises – we are going to extend that with the UCAas and mid-market as well.
“Think of Spoken as a multi-tenanted, scalable cloud architecture with on-demand capabilities,” said Laurent Philonenko, Avaya’s SVP Solutions and Technology. “Our goal is to drive all cloud business through Spoken. Spoken has been positioned in the large enterprises, but we are going to extend that with the UCaaS into the mid-market as well.”
“This has been two years in the coming,” said Mohamad Afshar, president and CEO of Spoken. “Spoken has an amazing market position in collaboration with Avaya, putting Avaya solutions in the cloud in a multi-tenanted highly-secure platform. During the last two years, we have been working closely as teams to bring these innovations to market. It’s an amazing opportunity for you, our customers, to radically transform the way you do customer engagement, and evolve to the cloud in the most seamless way.”
Spoken’s multi-tenanted architecture has already been integrated with Avaya Aura and Elite technologies. It also provides the architecture for Avaya’s omnichannel offerings, such as Oceana, and its Unified Communications as a Service solutions. The Spoken and Avaya cloud teams will be integrated going forward in Avaya’s new cloud business unit, under the leadership of Mercer Rowe, who recently joined Avaya from IBM’s cloud business, following several years spent working on VMware’s cloud business.
“With this announcement, we are the first solution that integrates a communications platform and a voice platform into a single offering,” Afshar said.
This technology will be of signal importance in providing Avaya’s large on-prem contact centre customer base with a clear and relatively easy path to the cloud.
“No other solution in the market provides that seamless path to the cloud,” Afshar stated. “This marriage of our companies will enable you to evolve to the cloud at the pace that you want. It will also provide you with the latest technologies that will enable you to leapfrog everyone else.”
The deal also includes Spoken’s specialized agent quality software applications and services, and their IntelligentWire contact centre automation solutions, which apply AI and deep learning technologies to live voice conversations.
“IntelligentWire analyzes each and every conversation in real time, summarizes it in text, and puts it into the application of your choice, like Salesforce,” Afshar said. “It completely changes the economics of the contact centre, and gives unbelievable insights into what customers are saying.”
The acquisition will play a key role in Avaya’s strategic reorientation to become not just a technology leader, but a business model innovation leader. Avaya CEO Jim Chirico has emphasized at the event that Avaya has changed its past culture, which he said was rooted in caution, and which tended to paralyze the organization. Instead, going forward, Avaya will be characterized by thoughtful leadership.
“This was very thoughtful leadership, to take that Spoken technology, which was already built on our platform, and use it to accelerate things,” said Pat O’Malley, Avaya’s Chief Financial Officer. “This will enable everyone to make that jump if they want. It’s not just about technology, but creating business model innovations.”
Spoken is available today.