Avaya's new VP of technology strategy previously worked for the company from 2011 to 2014.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

January 8, 2018

4 Min Read
Business Growth


Edward Gately

Avaya‘s newest vice president plans to ensure that all of the company’s investment in technology directly benefits its partners.

Last week, Avaya appointed Greg Pelton, previously with Polycom, Cisco and Nortel Networks, to vice president of technology strategy, charged with playing a key role in shaping the company’s technology strategy as it continues its transformation into a services and cloud-based UC and contact-center provider.


Avaya’s Greg Pelton

Pelton returns to Avaya after previously serving as chief technology officer for the company’s government-solutions arm from 2011 to 2014.

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.

In November, Avaya unveiled a tighter focus on helping its Edge partners offer UC and contact-center applications as a cloud-based service (UCaaS, CCaaS) to business customers.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Pelton talks about his plans in his new role and how much Avaya has changed in his absence.

Channel Partners: What do you want Avaya’s partners to know about you?

Greg Pelton: The most important thing is that I’m here to help. Our industry is going through a lot of changes and our customers are looking to us to help them navigate those changes and provide the best solutions for their employees and customers. This is a tremendous obligation and opportunity for Avaya and our partners. Neither one of us can do this alone, but if we work together, we can grow our businesses and ensure customer success.

CP: Will your role benefit partners in terms of technology? How?

GP: Technology is our lifeblood and it is important that we continue to develop great technology and make it available to our customers. We have a large R&D organization and are spending a significant percentage of our product revenue on R&D. All of that investment should be of benefit to our partners. I will be spending a lot of time helping to prioritize those investments and ensuring that our investments are aligned across our different business areas and market segments. There are emerging technologies like machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT) that are quite relevant to our solutions and can enable significant differentiation. These and other new technologies will influence our strategy and road map.

CP: What are the biggest challenges facing Avaya in terms of strategic growth and technology transformation, and what will be your role in addressing them?

GP: Avaya has faced a number of operational and financial challenges, but those are now firmly in the past and we have emerged from our debt restructuring in a very strong position. Our focus now is firmly on growth, and that growth will come from …

… the adoption of our newest technologies and solutions. A good example of this is cloud services. Many of our customers are looking to Avaya to guide them through their transition to the cloud and to ensure they can move at a pace that works best for them, without disrupting their business. We have a huge customer base so we need to be very efficient and effective at delivering the right cloud solution, with and through our partners. I’ve spent most of my career developing next-generation technologies and have a pretty good feel for the problems that need to be solved and techniques that help speed customer adoption of new capabilities.

CP: What do you plan to accomplish in your first year in this new position?

GP: I worked for Avaya previously between 2011 and 2014, and thought it would be easy to get back up to speed. In reality, I was really surprised how much has changed in the short time I was away. It feels like a different company and our product portfolio is a lot different, so right now I’m “drinking from the firehose,” trying to get reoriented. My main goal for the next year is to ensure we are making the right technology investments to support our growth plans. We have a lot of tools in our toolbox – a world-class R&D team, a strong balance sheet and a good history of technology partnerships – and we need to maximize the application of all these tools. At the same time, I want to spend a lot of time with customers and partners to both understand their needs and to help them get a better feel for how our technologies can be transformative for their businesses. This is going to be a lot of fun.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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