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Avaya pushes OneCloud customization

Avaya aims to create an ecosystem of customers, developers and partners that use its many integration tools to tailor the OneCloud platform for their individual needs.

Avaya has beefed up efforts to get customers, developers and partners to take advantage of its tools to customize OneCloud, the company's communications platform as a service.

This week, Avaya touted at its Engage user conference an Experience Builders program that makes more than 40 APIs available to integrate OneCloud services with cloud applications. The program had 154,000 registered developers, 32,000 partner companies and 100,000 Avaya customers in October.

A monolithic, one-size-fits-all product won't meet the wide range of needs businesses have, said Avaya CMO Simon Harrison. The Experience Builders program aims to provide customers with the development help necessary to adapt OneCloud to how they work.

Simon Harrison, chief marketing officer, AvayaSimon Harrison

"We want to empower end-user developers to innovate with us," he said.

The Experience Builders program avoids having a plain communications platform as a service (CPaaS) product that doesn't quite meet the needs of most customers, said Metrigy analyst Irwin Lazar.

"When you talk to 10 people about [a generic] CPaaS, you get 10 different definitions of what it is," he said.

Also, the customizable OneCloud demonstrates a sales strategy that emphasizes using technology to solve problems. "It boils down to someone like Avaya trying to sell solutions versus products and technologies," Lazar said.

The education firm Toolwire is an example of a company embedding video conferencing and chat capabilities from OneCloud's Spaces collaboration tool into an online learning app, Harrison said.

"They've created a phenomenally brilliant educational application that exploits the power of both [Toolwire's educational features and Avaya's services]," he said.

The Experience Builders program fosters cooperation between Avaya developers, as well. For example, Toolwire could work with other companies in the program to add features like biometric authentication for students when they take tests, Harrison said.

At Engage, Avaya described how a healthcare provider could use OneCloud to create a workflow for checking in with patients after outpatient procedures. The provider could send automatic SMS messages asking patients about pain and post-op symptoms, initiate a phone call using a virtual agent and escalate to a video call with a healthcare professional if necessary.

Avaya is not alone in enticing developers and customers to build on a collaboration platform. Salesforce recently improved its Workflow Builder to make it easier to automate business processes. Zoom has a fund that pays developers for Zoom apps, while Microsoft has refreshed its Teams store to showcase third-party apps.

An increasing number of companies are using CPaaS tools to embed communication services in applications. Research firm IDC expects the global CPaaS market to expand by about 33% per year, from $4.2 billion in 2019 to $17.7 billion in 2024. According to market data provider Statista, Twilio accounts for 38% of the CPaaS market, followed by Vonage at 11.8%. Avaya did not have enough share to be individually broken out in Statista's data.

Mike Gleason is a reporter covering unified communications and collaboration tools. He previously covered communities in the MetroWest region of Massachusetts for the Milford Daily NewsWalpole TimesSharon Advocate and Medfield Press. He has also worked for newspapers in central Massachusetts and southwestern Vermont and served as a local editor for Patch. He can be found on Twitter at @MGleason_TT.

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