Avaya to take South Africa by storm

Business collaboration and communications could seem like a daunting prospect for any company, and while there are a number of them offering their services, Avaya is determined to differentiate itself and entrench its offering in South Africa.

IT News Africa recently caught up with Selvin Kirstnen, Managing Director of Avaya in South Africa, at a media roundtable to find out what the company has in store for the country.

Selvin Kirstnen, Managing Director of Avaya in South Africa (image: Avaya)

“Our focus has changed from a single product to a service. The video aspect of business has also strengthened, which we will be taking strongly into the market. For Avaya, we are taking data into the market and needs to be seen in that space, but we are also well-established in the contact centre space. People always perceive us as a call centre company, but we have moved away from that,” said Kirstnen.

Avaya’s plans for the future in South Africa (which only houses around 20 staff), is to strongly target the mid-market. “In South Africa we are looking at the mid-market sector. With new solutions to our disposal, we are creating a whole solution for various companies. It’s a major focus for us, and we have products for large corporations as well as medium-sized ones.”

“We decided to go after the mid-market sector as this is the segment that we have identified for companies with limited IT budgets. We worked on solutions that bring business collaboration into a mid-sized business with their IT budget.”

But Avaya also focuses on the Channel. “We need to be channel friendly for business partners, as 95% of Avaya’s business is driven by the channel. We keep growing with more partners to better service the channel, as South Africa is a very important market for Avaya. We will continue to invest in training and growing the market.”

In terms of business outside of South Africa, Avaya operates in a number of African countries. “In Africa, we are in all countries that border South Africa. The rest of Africa is handled out of Dubai, while we have branches in Kenya and recently opened offices in Ghana and Tanzania. Mobile operator Bharti Airtel in Kenya also outsourced their contact centre to Avaya, while some local Avaya partners assist with installations in Africa.”

Kirstnen also confirmed that Avaya is in the process of concluding a number of deals with telecommunications operator throughout Africa, but declined to divulge any information. “We have a number of deals on the table, but are still in negotiations. We are also hoping to work with MTN and Vodacom throughout Africa.”

As part of their operations, Avaya has also implemented a complete new system call centre and connectivity solution for South Africa’s Standard Bank. “But we have several other new tech in terms of mobility and others to make people’s lives easier. Avaya could save everybody time and money.”

Avaya has committed to South Africa and is determined to make its mark on the technological landscape. “The pattern and motive to grow is there. When we see the need for more partners, we will sign more.”

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor