New Orleans, La. – Jim Chirico’s message couldn’t be clearer this morning: Avaya has money, it’s looking to form new partnerships and it’s dedicated to the cloud.

“What we’re doing now, is playing to win,” said the CEO of Avaya during his opening speech at the Avaya Engage conference, trying to shed what he described as the company’s cautious approach to business from years past. “Caution equals fear … it can stall decision making.”

He followed that up by announcing the acquisition of Spoken Communications, an acquisition Avaya has the money for now, he said. It will include more than 170 patents and patent applications. Mohamad Afshar, president and CEO of Spoken, joined Chirico on stage for the announcement. The partnership will help small to medium-sized businesses adopt modern cloud-based contact centres, he said.

“Further, Avaya shares our vision for how communications, cloud and artificial intelligence will come together to transform the customer experience and drive new efficiencies for businesses everywhere,” Afshar added.

Customers will also gain access to Spoken’s IntelligentWire system. With the help of AI, IntelligentWire can analyze every call that is made, turn it into text and put it into any application of your choice, such as Salesforce, Afshar explained. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of fiscal 2018.

Avaya underwent serious changes last year after leaving Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection – its Canadian subsidiary was not part of the filing. Avaya became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange, which is expected to free up roughly $350 million in one year, ITBusiness.ca sister site CDN learned in November. That money will go towards research and development, marketing and re-branding, new cloud solutions and if there’s money left over, additional acquisitions. Chirico said 80 per cent of Avaya’s current revenue comes from software.

Mercer Rowe, senior vice president and general manager, Cloud, for Avaya, said the acquisition will give channel partners and customers greater flexibility for solutions that are on premises, in the public or private cloud, or a hybrid model.

And while he didn’t specify how many new product releases are on the horizon, Chirico said this morning the number was significant. He thanked customers for sticking with Avaya.

“When I joined 10 years ago we were bleeding cash like nobody’s business,” he said. “I’m sure there were times when you had to talk to your bosses and were asked ‘Why are we still with Avaya?’ You put your badge on the line for us. We will make sure what you did was the right thing.”

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