Composability Powers the Next Wave of Communications Growth

This syndicated post originally appeared at Zeus Kerravala – eWEEK.

Avaya CMO Simon Harrison discuss how composable communications enables rapid creation of custom experiences.

Prior to the pandemic, software developers would take months, or even years, to build applications. While the pandemic didn’t change the need for new app-supported experiences, it did create an urgency to quickly support new use cases, such as distance learning and remote work.

Technology supports this need for faster app development. By tapping into modern microservices and application programming interfaces (APIs) through low-code and no-code systems, anyone today can build apps quickly for any use case imaginable.

I certainly don’t want to diminish the value of a developer – they are critically important to business success. But companies need to think more broadly about how apps are created. Businesses need to augment their developer strategies with other methods that enable experiences to be “composed” quickly.

Composability Turns Experiences into Building Blocks

The power of composability is the ability to use different “building blocks” to compose apps. Companies like Avaya are realizing the value of bringing together components to create better experiences for end users. Take communications tools as an example. They were traditionally built for the knowledge worker and didn’t work for everyone. The way these tools evolved during the pandemic is astonishing.

I recently sat down with Avaya’s Chief Marketing Officer, Simon Harrison, at the Enterprise Connect conference, which took place in Orlando, Florida, March 21-24. Harrison shared Avaya’s vision for building composable solutions and explained why composability is the future of communication. Highlights of the ZKast interview, done in conjunction with eWEEK eSPEAKS, are below:

  • Avaya is working closely with partners and developers to help organizations create unique experiences for users, as part of its Experience Builders program. Experience Builders embraces the concept of composability by encouraging partners and developers to create composable solutions/apps using Avaya’s technology.
  • Avaya Spaces is a basic app that is powered by communications-platform-as-a-service (CPaaS), a cloud-based delivery model that allows organizations to add voice, video, and messaging features to their existing business software using APIs. A good example of a composable app built using Spaces is Toolwire. It leverages Avaya’s video conferencing and chat capabilities to create a new artificial intelligence (AI)-enhanced digital teaching and learning platform.
  • Toolwire handled the education component, while artificial intelligence – which is also part of the Avaya partner ecosystem – supplied the authentication component for the platform, called Spaces Learning. On top of that, through low-code/no-code tools, students were able to bring in their expertise and customize Spaces Learning even further.
  • A key component of Avaya Spaces is the media processing core (MPC), offering improvements in performance and security, as well as a reduction in bandwidth by 80 percent.
  • Avaya sees MPC becoming a vital part of composability. Voice, video, chat, and social engagement are common elements across all communication/collaboration apps. MPC creates a hub-and-spoke model between these services by providing a single set of channels into Avaya’s platform, so organizations can create whatever they want on the end user side.
  • Since a single vendor cannot do it all, Avaya works with every major company specializing in natural language understanding (NLU) and predictive analytics, including Google, Amazon, Nvidia, and IBM Watson. The goal is to complement the technologies that organizations have already invested in. Avaya views itself as an open platform, a composer-type rather than an integrator.
  • Organizations looking for a truly composable solution must pay attention to its underlying foundation, with CPaaS as a core ingredient. Additionally, the solution must support low-code/no-code development platforms for citizen developers, which allows them to compose apps by dragging and dropping components.
  • The attitude that developers are the only professionals who are capable of building apps is outdated. End users and citizen developers are coming up with innovative ideas and new use cases that are driving the composability market.

Author: Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.