Avaya, a global provider of communications systems, networking and cloud-based services to businesses and governments, came into the corporate world as an independent company in 2000 and has been in Miami since then.
“This year, Avaya is celebrating its 15th anniversary,” said Galib Karim, the managing director of Avaya for Latin America and the Caribbean since 2012.
“Since the company started, we’ve had a presence in Miami and in Latin America,” said Karim, in response to questions emailed by the Miami Herald.
Avaya’s offices in Miami were first opened in Coral Gables in 2000, then moved to Doral and now are located off Blue Lagoon Drive.
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The Miami regional headquarters has about 200 employees (including some who work in North American sales) out of approximately 1,300 in Latin America and the Caribbean and more than 13,000 worldwide.
A spinoff of Lucent Technologies’ enterprise communications group (formerly part of AT&T Corp.), California-based Avaya was publicly traded until 2007, when it was purchased by two private equity funds: TPG Partners and Silver Lake Partners
From the Miami regional headquarters, Karim, who is originally from Mexico City and holds a degree in computer science from the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores in Monterrey, Mexico, covers Avaya’s business activities in the 42 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean where the company has a presence.
Karim, who has more than 20 years of experience in the technology and communications sectors, previously was the company’s managing director in Mexico and held executive positions at Nortel Networks and Bay Networks before joining Avaya in 2010.
Working from Miami and Mexico, Karim travels frequently to other parts of Latin America. He has a management degree from the IPADE Business School at the Pan-American University in Mexico and received a diploma in leadership from the London Business School.
He is responsible for overall management performance, sales, support and oversees some 1,300 channel partners who distribute and sell Avaya products and services.
What exactly does Avaya do?
The company started out developing and selling mostly proprietary hardware (telephone and other communications systems) and has evolved into an innovative enterprise providing sophisticated, integrated communications systems and software.
Today, the company covers a variety of areas in communications and technology.
It designs, develops and sells communications systems and software to 300,000 customers — including large and small businesses, government agencies and other organizations — using cloud-based services and technology to meet the need for the increasingly widespread use of mobile technology.
It also equips its clients with scalable centers to handle incoming calls from customers, sets up advanced networks and provides consulting and support services.
Avaya aims at simplifying business applications and promoting more effective communication among customers, employees, business units and partners, the company said.
“Avaya has transformed itself from a telephony company to a software and services company,” Karim said.
To compete effectively with companies like Aspect, Cisco and Microsoft, Avaya is “approaching new markets and niches that are growing,” he added.
Avaya’s strategy in the region is to make sure that customers and their requirements are the company’s main focus, especially in every aspect of mobility.
The company also is making investments in the region and is stressing cloud-oriented services.
“We have placed services and the cloud at the top,” Karim noted. “Services is one of our priorities and advantages. More than 50 percent of our revenue comes from services, and today we have the full capacity to deliver services and offer private, public and hybrid clouds together with our business partners.”
Avaya had global revenues of almost $4.4 billion in fiscal year 2014, which ended Sept. 30.
The Americas International Region — which covers Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean — accounted for 9.7 percent of global revenues.
And the outlook seems good.
“Last year, Latin America had growth in the single digits,” he said. “And we expect this to continue, consistent with growth in the region.”
Where did the name “Avaya” come from?
Although Avaya sounds like it could be a word in Spanish, Portuguese or Italian, the word was apparently made up by someone at Lucent Technologies.
On its website, Avaya says that the name was chosen “to set the company apart and capture what it was doing — focusing on communications solutions for business customers. At the time we announced the name we said: ‘Avaya sounds open and fluid — reflecting a company that’s open-minded and that provides seamless, effortless interconnections among people and businesses.’ ”
In 2000, The Register, an online publication covering the IT industry, interviewed the then-CEO of Lucent, Donald Peterson, who said, “You will not find this name in the dictionary,” according to a copy of the Register article retrieved online. “It’s up to us to fill in the meaning.”
The article then noted that “Avaya” appears in the Jain dictionary, meaning “perceptual judgment.”
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Business: Provides global communications systems (hardware and software), networking, applications, cloud services, specialized professional services and consulting to large and small businesses and other organizations. For example, the company combines services such as telephony, email, instant messaging and video. It supplies audio conferencing systems, mobile video software, software that runs customer service centers and cloud services, among others. Avaya sells directly and through distributors, resellers, systems integrators and telecom service providers.
World headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif.
Latin America headquarters: 1000 NW 57th Ct., Miami
Management: Galib Karim, managing director for Latin America.
Founded: 2000 (Avaya began working in Latin America in 2000 and opened its Miami offices the same year.)
Employees: Around 200 in Miami, 1,300 in Latin America and the Caribbean and more than 13,000 worldwide.
Customers: More than 300,000 in the U.S. and other countries, including large companies, small businesses and government agencies.
Revenues: For fiscal year 2014 (ended Sept. 30, 2014), Avaya had global revenues of nearly
$4.4 billion. Sales of products and sales each represented about 50 percent of the total. For the same fiscal year the Americas International Region — Latin America and Canada — generated 9.7 percent of global revenues.
Ownership: Two private equity funds: TPG Partners and Silver Lake Partners.