When Avaya filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January, industry analysts were not surprised. The company was struggling with $6.3 billion in debt and $1.7 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, and its revenue had declined about 8 percent per year for the past several years. Restructuring the debt load was the only viable option.

Some industry analysts have applauded the move, and are optimistic that Avaya will emerge from bankruptcy stronger and more profitable. However, the company could also be acquired and its products and services absorbed into the buyer’s portfolio. Or it could become so weakened by a protracted bankruptcy process that it is completely liquidated — that’s what happened to Nortel back in 2009.

Even in the best possible scenario, Avaya’s products and technology strategy will change. The company has already sold its networking business to Extreme Networks for $100 million, and has hinted that it will sell other business units as well. It even investigated selling its flagship contact center business, although it was unable to do so for various reasons.

Fact is, Avaya’s troubles can be traced to its slow entry into the cloud-based and hybrid unified communications market. Even now, Avaya is encouraging customers to adopt its Aura platform, an on-premises system that was first introduced in 2009. If the company is going to survive, much less thrive, it’s going to have to shift its focus from legacy, hardware-centric architectures to more flexible deployment options.

Where does that leave customers in the meantime?

Avaya customers should look at this as an opportunity to consider a new approach to unified communications (UC) and collaboration. We recommend ShoreTel Connect, a single platform and user interface for onsite, cloud or hybrid deployments. Connect simplifies the deployment and management of UC systems, and provides a common user experience regardless of deployment model.

ShoreTel Connect provides state-of-the-art UC features, including high-quality voice services, instant messaging, audio and web conferencing, and multipoint video. The ShoreTel Connect client is intuitive and easy-to-use, increasing productivity and improving collaboration. The browser-based app also enables external users to collaborate without the need for plug-ins, multiple applications, passwords or complex setup.

UtiliComm is a ShoreTel Silver Partner with more than 30 years of experience in UC and contact center solutions. Our consultants and engineers have the proven ability to design communication and collaboration platforms that help organizations reduce costs, communicate more effectively and enhance customer service. We have also migrated a number of customers from legacy platforms to ShoreTel, helping to ensure a smooth transition with minimal risk and business impact.

Avaya customers have no reason to panic — their UC equipment isn’t going to stop working simply because the company filed bankruptcy. Nevertheless, they are right to be concerned about the future of their UC investments. Avaya customers should take this opportunity to reevaluate their UC environments and implement a forward-looking solution. Contact us to discuss how ShoreTel Connect delivered by the UtiliComm team can take your organization into the future.

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