Galib Karim: “To grow AI in organizations, you have to find use cases first”

The customer and contact center agent experience is just one area where AI can shine. Avaya’s Vice President for CALA & Canada delved into the product and strategy announcements of the recent Avaya Engage, explaining how partners in the region can jump on opportunities in the near future.

Avaya ENGAGE 2024 was the platform from which the provider of communication solutions and customer experience revealed their plans for the future, which included innovations in AI applied to use cases, a deepening of its value proposition through the Avaya Experience Platform (AXP) and a strategy that encompasses the rapid capitalization of its most recent acquisition: Edify. They spoke with Galib Karim, Vice President for CALA & Canada at Avaya, to learn about the vendor’s roadmap, its AI strategy and the prominent role of the recent acquisition in future plans.

“We did a lot of commercials, but mostly a lot of demonstrations in our booth, which was huge. There we had workstations focused for the different use cases, and we were able to demonstrate how we can continue to give a company innovation, having an on-prem installation, or under hybrid models, or totally in the cloud”, recalled Karim, who highlighted innovation with AI focused on contact centers. On this point, he clarified: “We do not want to make intelligence engines, or ChatGPT…We’re using all these innovations to integrate them into contact centers, to help agents be more productive, to make bots smarter, to make there much more self-service”. The goal of all this innovation is twofold, and aims at both the productivity and experience of agents, as well as the customer experience (CX).

The ads referenced by Karim point to specific AI applications in contact centers. “For example, for everything that has to do with managing contact center agents. That is to say: all that is typically the Avaya Workforce Optimization, which now, thanks to the artificial intelligence tools, allows to manage in a much more efficient way the agents’ time”.


Another field of innovation is that of bots, where Karim foresees a “very important revolution”. Now, he explained, “using artificial intelligence tools, bots can give you much more information and much more context aimed at what you’re requesting. This means that the use of the agent (the involvement of a human agent), which is the most expensive contact center asset, decreases and that the calls that pass to agents are really the least, because you can solve much more through the bot”. Here ChatGPT becomes just one more station of a process that also uses other tools that allow creating very specific contexts for the company that is using the bot. “Although initially the interaction appeals to ChatGPT, then a very specific context of the company’s information is applied, fed by various sources, which makes the information much more relevant to the user,” said the regional executive of Avaya.

Intelligence in routing and optimization

Karim noted that AI is changing the way skill routings can be made today (no longer needing to adhere to a monolithic decision tree), and even the scripts that agents use in their different conversations-guy. However, their use is even more extensive, as is the case of assigning calls and making more efficient the use of time of those agents.

“They are concepts and tools that already existed, but with the contribution of AI they allow us to be more efficient. For example, internally, in Avaya we are using AI for our Support groups. With some AI tools we have managed to reduce 30% of the attention time,” says Karim. “It is the same activity, but these tools allow to make it much faster and with much more accurate answers. It’s not that we’re changing the principle of how to give Support, but certain tools help us make it faster and more effective”. All in all, for Karim, this is just the tip of the iceberg: “We think there can be much more progress in using these kinds of tools. And the same we are seeing of opportunities for customers in call centers”.

This search for better CX (which in some cases is solved with satisfying and intelligent self-service, to call it something) is what led them to acquire Edify in early May. “Edify gives us orchestration, and they also had CCaaS and UCaaS technology that will serve us to complement some of the things we are doing. To that is added a fairly strong team of developers, which will help us strengthen our Development team”. It’s worth remembering that Edify offers codeless and cloud-native solutions, and the integration of its unique orchestration capabilities into AXP, accelerating Avaya’s ability to deliver personalized customer experiences, such as task automation, route orchestration and ready-to-use CRM connectors. “Both companies have now fully integrated, all of Edify’s colleagues have already joined the Avaya organization,” he said.

“Internally, in Avaya we are using IA for our support groups. With some AI tools we have managed to reduce 30% of the attention time”.

The AI and expectations about AI

In the theme artificial intelligence, defined the executive, “today there are two components: a component of reality and another component of fashion. There’s no client we sit with that doesn’t tell us: I want artificial intelligence. Many people think that artificial intelligence is a product, but it is a very broad concept. Similar to what three decades ago was the Internet: a whole world”.

“What we suggest to clients is to narrow the scope of the project. We believe that if we make use cases that have measurable results for the customer, then they can start to grow. It is a work that our Sales and Professional Services groups do together with our partners, “said Karim, for whom the feedback from customers to the strategy proposed by Avaya in this framework (“Innovation without Disruption”) is very positive. “Overall, our competitors are forcing customers to move to Cloud very aggressively. We give our customers options. And they see it very well. We already have a lot of innovation that we are delivering on the AXP Connect platform, which is where you can start to consume all that innovation”.

“Edify brings us orchestration, and they also had the technology of ccaas and ucaas that will serve us to complement some of the things we are doing. A team of developers is also quite strong, which will help us strengthen our development team”.

Karim said there is a lot of investment around these issues. “You have, for example, Banking, which has continued to invest a lot in the Customer Experience”. There are other markets such as airlines or hospitals (in Brazil and Mexico, especially large private hospitals). “In general, this is seen in almost all sectors,” said the executive, who recalled the boom that had in times of pandemic demand for these experiences. “I think today customers have realized that experience is much more important than the product itself. You can have a good product but, if the experience is very bad, you will not be very successful”. For Karim, the organizations that are growing are precisely those that still maintain this investment in CX.