AVST Future-Proofs Infrastructure for Enterprise
Hardy Myers, President & CEO of AVST, spoke on camera with John Furrier and Jim Burton at Enterprise Connect 2016 for theCube. A number of topics were covered in the video – Cloud, Microsoft’s Skype for Business, and AVST’s focus on maintaining interoperability to future-proof customers’ IT investments.
Here are some highlights of the conversations that took place in Orlando.
- What it means to be an “Enterprise-Class” solution
- How Microsoft is using AVST solutions
- The vibe at Enterprise Connect is all Cloud
- An explosion of vendor Cloud announcements
- ‘Cloud readiness’ of large enterprises today
- Is Flexibility or Economics driving the move to the Cloud?
Cloud discussions were obviously the center of attention at Enterprise Connect 2016. Cloud has typically been a topic for small businesses in recent years, but this year AVST was surprised by the number of discussions they had with large, multi-national enterprises. Combine Cloud with Skype for Business, and these two forces are shaking up the UC market as we know it today.
By design, AVST solutions are ideally suited to enable the evolutionary transition of an enterprise to the Cloud and Skype for Business – no matter what customers’ UC landscape is today, or will look like in the future. Check out AVST’s latest cloud announcement.
By Denny Michael, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing
Below is the full transcription of the interview:
Transcript: theCube from Enterprise Connect 2016
Announcer: Live from Orlando, Florida extracting the signal from the noise, it’s theCUBE, covering Enterprise Connect 2016. Brought to you by Oracle ZDLRA, Vonage, and CafeX. Now your hosts John Furrier and Jim Burton.
John: Hey, welcome back everyone. We are here inside theCUBE’s special coverage of Enterprise Connect. I want to thank our sponsors real quick, Oracle ZDLRA, Zero Data Loss Appliance, CafeX, and Vonage. Thanks for sponsoring. Buy their stuff. They’re great. They support theCUBE.
I’m John Furrier here with Jim Burton. Our next guest is Hardy Myers, president and CEO of AVST enterprise-grade unified communications. Welcome to theCUBE.
Hardy: Thank you.
John: Obviously enterprise-grade is one of those things where it’s kicked around, but there are a lot of nuances around what enterprise-grade means. You see stuff that’s free, Google Hangouts. Skype is a free product. They have Skype for Business, which is much more SLA. How hard is it to be enterprise-grade?
Hardy: It’s actually very hard. Our core competency is making unified communication solutions for medium and large enterprises. We sell to through worldwide channels to medium and large enterprises.
John: And what’s the vibe at the show this year? This seems to be one of those years where the Cloud is obviously the center of attention. It seems to be breaking out. It seems to be, I think, an inflection point.
Hardy: I agree. Cloud is hot. We at AVST made an announcement about Cloud this week. The bottom line is for large enterprises; moving to the Cloud is complex. Typically it’s a hybrid scenario, some pure Cloud scenarios. Microsoft had some great announcements today. And so we made an announcement about how we’re going to enable people to move to the Cloud, both to a Microsoft Cloud or whatever Cloud they want in the near future.
John: Can you share a little bit on the announcement, because that’s a pretty big deal.
Hardy: Oh, thank you. Yeah. We have, for many years, supported private Cloud large enterprise high-scale deployments. And now we’re going to be supporting, through our partners and through an AVST delivery mechanism, the ability for enterprises to consume our technology either in hybrid format or from a Cloud directly.
Jim: Hardy, one of the things I wanted to talk to you about is your relationship with Microsoft and the products and services that you support underneath Microsoft. I think one of the things that I find fascinating is that Microsoft has a lot of partners, but Microsoft actually uses your products in a unique environment. So a lot of people would say, “Well, gee, why would you use an AVST product when Microsoft has some of their own products?” So maybe give us a little bit of background about that relationship and how you’ve been able to help Microsoft, as well as a number of their partners, take your product to market to deliver customer solutions.
Hardy: So, very simply stated, large enterprises have very complex environments. Microsoft is a very large enterprise. Skype for Business, as a single discrete solution for a large enterprise, is probably the end game in many cases. About 80% of customers we see are going to migrate to Skype for Business over time. What the AVST platform does is, in addition to supplying some applications where Microsoft doesn’t have quite the same level of scalability as AVST does, we enable a customer to migrate from whatever their legacy their environment is to Skype for Business, whether it’s a premise or Cloud deployment.
Jim: So in addition to that, though, you provide some features and functionalities because you, in many cases, are CPE-based. When companies have restrictions of what they can do, you fill that bill. And I think quite frankly that’s some of what you’re able to help Microsoft with themselves.
Hardy: That’s true. Depending on the customer, if voice applications, highly scalable automated attendants, voice messaging where compliance or confidentiality prohibits them from moving to Exchange or 365, informal call center type solutions that are sort of a notch above the baseline configuration but below a big contact center – those are all areas we deliver enterprise-scale or enterprise-class levels of solutions through our and Microsoft’s larger partners.
Jim: Well, maybe you could spend a few minutes just really talking about what your product portfolio looks like. One of the things that always surprised me, and I keep forgetting about it, is that you have an informal contact center that’s being very, very successful in the marketplace.
Jim: But just talk about your platform and the breadth of that portfolio, your mobility solutions and all of that, because some people may not really understand all you do because they may stereotype you as a company that they know is a messaging company. You’re so much more than that.
Hardy: Right. Well, many people do know us for our world-class messaging solutions. But really what we’ve built is a highly interoperable unified communications platform. By putting our product into an enterprise’s infrastructure, it basically future-proofs it for them, how they’re going to evolve their infrastructure in the future. And so relative to Microsoft specifically, what we’re doing at that core is that future-proofing or enabling a customer to migrate over time from a legacy environment, whatever that might be, even operating with both Microsoft and some other vendor’s technology simultaneously.
We’re able to deliver mission-critical voice applications, both messaging and call processing, so highly scalable automated attendants, etc. in that framework, enable a centralization strategy that supports a big private Cloud data center deployment. Moving into more mobile-type capabilities, including secure messaging, call completion, things like that, and then as you mentioned, into informal call center – contact center type capabilities.
What we’ve done with our contact center – TeamQ® – is developed a product that’s really designed for informal work groups like IT organizations. We’re particularly strong in higher education. We see several use cases in higher ed organizations where they have teams that want to have contact-center-like capabilities but they don’t want to outlay that kind of expenditure. What we’ve done is engineer a product that rides on our platform, leverages all the resources that you’ve already acquired using the AVST technology perhaps for some of the core voice applications, and enables you to get that kind of technology to those informal work groups. And the feedback’s been excellent, as you alluded to.
Jim: It seems to me that you’re in a unique spot, because large enterprises don’t just wholesale change-over. They migrate. They need to migrate. You actually have the ability to help them migrate from whatever their current vendor is over to a Skype for Business solution.
Hardy: That’s exactly right. We have many customers where they started with brand X and they didn’t know whether they were going to go to the Cloud or to Skype for Business, or maybe both. And so putting in AVST to future-proof their infrastructure; they’re very happy with that scenario. It’s enabled them to move toward a centralized, probably initially a large private Cloud, data deployment. Maybe they’re going to convert that to a managed service with one of our premier global partners, or maybe they’re going to move that up into the Cloud and leverage some of the great technology Microsoft is delivering from the Cloud.
Jim: Great to have you here. I want to get your thoughts on the show this year. What’s the big impact to the folks out there? Your customers and a lot of these suppliers here have end user customers that are trying to figure things out. It’s converging. You talked about some very complex enterprise-grade stuff. Then, you’ve got the Cloud, which is just Cloud native slap-stuff-up, stand-stuff-up-quick, and get-stuff-going, agile. It’s all kind of coming together. What is the big impact to the customers this year?
Hardy: I think it’s getting clearer on what Cloud means to the customer. I call it Cloud confusion. Are we talking delivery model? Are we talking consumption model? And there’s a lot of people throwing the word around. So from our perspective, our advice…people ask us, are we in the Cloud? The answer is yes. Then, the question becomes, what do you mean by Cloud? And so clearly what I think is cool about the show is, unlike two years ago, probably half of the vendors here are delivering their technology from the Cloud or in a hybrid format. That really portends the direction for where enterprises are going, and I think it’s great.
John: I want to get your take on what’s the driver. Is it the economics? Because, in the native Cloud computing world, it’s always been great economics, and you see public Cloud clearly there.
John: What’s your take on that?
Hardy: I would say, honestly, I think it’s flexibility. I don’t think it’s economics.
John: All right, thanks for sharing your thoughts here in theCUBE, Hardy. Thanks for joining us. This is theCUBE on the ground. I’m John Furrier, Jim Burton. Thanks for watching.