The news that sprawling networking company Avaya has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy is being greeted with nonchalance by at least some of its customers, for whom the saga of the firm’s financial troubles has been a reality for some time.
Avaya’s a big company with several focus areas – some lines, like networking products, are performing well. Others, including unified communications and phone systems, are not, and it’s these that have dragged the company into Chapter 11.
But the news that Avaya will continue to operate through the bankruptcy, combined with the lengthy string of stories about the company’s fiscal issues over the past year, mean that its customers are largely blasé about the whole affair.
“I don’t think it’s a big deal. We’ve been down this road before, it’s not a shocker,” said a senior healthcare IT professional who spoke to Network World. ““From a customer view perspective, they’ve been innovating – lots of new things coming out of their R&D in the last two years, so there’s really been a strength in new stuff, more than an idle.”
Particularly impressive, according to the healthcare IT pro, is Avaya’s use of the 802.1q shortest-path bridging protocol for fabric, letting them distribute core functionality across the network instead of having everything centrally located. The same goes for the company’s SDN Fx product line.
A senior IT professional in the sports and entertainment industry was similarly unconcerned when contacted by Network World via email, saying that that the bankruptcy didn’t come as a surprise – and that it wasn’t even particularly bad news.
“I think the news is probably as good as I could have hoped for,” the IT pro said. “I expect that we can continue with Avaya in a ‘business as usual’ fashion and this won’t change our immediate plans/operations.”
The healthcare IT professional did note that the general unconcern and even praise for Avaya’s recent moves, bankruptcy and all, mostly has to do with the company’s networking division. While Avaya’s networking products are advanced and attractively priced, the same can’t be said of the company’s UC offerings.
“[There’s a] lack of innovation, total cost of ownership is higher than the competitors,” the source said. “If I know their bankruptcy filing, a lot of the legacy debt they inherited is around that UC platform.
The International Avaya Users Group issued a statement Thursday, saying that it’s been in touch with senior Avaya leadership and that it expects business to continue as usual.
“We are excited to have a clear path defined by Avaya and will continue to provide our support to Avaya users and customers during this transition,” said IAUG president Brenda Emerson, who is also the CIO of Landmark Bank.