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COLOMBIA - Telecoms & IT

Juan Manuel Mesa

Managing Director, Andean Region, Avaya

Bio

Juan Manuel Mesa has a track record of almost 20 years leading digital transformation projects, targeting different industry segments, building and implementing strategies and market analysis, and developing plans for the commercial development of different business units at a regional level. Juan Manuel Mesa is an electronic engineer from the Universidad Javeriana, has a master’s degree in business administration from Thunderbird University in Arizona and the Tecnológico de Monterrey. He also has studies in digital business strategy and emerging technologies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). On several occasions, Juan Manuel has been included in the list of outstanding executives in the country.

"Our primary focus is on improving customer experience through our expertise in contact center and communications solutions for both customers and employees."
TBY talks to Juan Manuel Mesa, Managing Director, Andean Region for Avaya, about key achievements, supporting businesses, and priorities for the coming year.
What key milestones and achievements has Avaya Colombia accomplished, especially during your tenure as Managing Director?

Our primary focus is on improving customer experience through our expertise in contact center and communications solutions for both customers and employees. Avaya is one of the largest solutions providers to BPOs in the world, serving major airlines, banks, and governments with robust telephony technology. We have significant experience in telecommunications, voice, and contact centers, particularly in Colombia, where work conditions are favorable for contact centers. In my role, I oversee the Andean region, including Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Currently, there are major changes occurring in communication, particularly in the voice sector. Social media has seen significant growth since the pandemic, while traditional telephony has declined due to increased use of mobile phones and social media applications; however, keeping their business running has been a significant challenge, as many companies still rely on traditional telephony for their operations. While some companies have attempted to manage solely through WhatsApp, it is not sufficient for effective business management. Despite these challenges, we are working with companies to improve their customer experience by utilizing AI technologies and algorithms, particularly in the consumer experience segment. For example, we are exploring how to provide better assistance through chatbots and voice bots that can interact with customers using natural language, making it more efficient to handle repetitive queries, such as checking bank account balances. By doing so, we aim to reduce costs and allow agents to focus on more challenging situations that require human attention. Our primary focus remains on improving the customer experience, and we are leveraging our vast installation base around the world to achieve this goal. We are committed to maintaining our reputation as a company that provides excellent customer service and improving our services through innovative solutions.

What are the biggest trends and opportunities in this communication technology industry, and how is Avaya positioning itself to take advantage of these?

Cloud migration is a major trend, but it can also be a threat for companies in emerging countries such as Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador. Avaya has heavily invested in cloud solutions and believes in a journey approach to cloud adoption, rather than immediate change. Avaya works with its customers to innovate without disrupting their current operations. This means adding value on top of what they already have, such as social media solutions, without forcing a complete overhaul. This step-by-step approach requires a customer mindset that enables them to reach their goals over time. While some telecommunication companies have implemented on-premises solutions for telephony, contact centers, and customer experience, Avaya believes that guided cloud implementation will lead to a more prosperous outcome.

Can you tell us more about Avaya’s operations in Colombia and how the company supports businesses in this region?

Avaya supports several industry segments, including government entities and the financial sector, who trust our stable solutions for better customer service. Our reliable brand is crucial to our customers, and we strive to support them and help them grow. The mid-market is a significant segment for us, and we offer both on-premise and cloud solutions in these countries. We also focus on supporting the BPO segment with low-cost, innovative solutions for better customer service and a better customer experience. We are dedicated to supporting these businesses in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia.

What types of customers is Avaya working with now?

Avaya has established relationships with many important banks in Colombia, including one of the biggest banks. We also work closely with the top five BPOs in Colombia, as well as public entities in Peru and government and telecommunication entities in Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. In the retail and food and beverage industries, we have numerous important customers. We have a strong presence in the mid-market, particularly in small countries where we sell many on-premise and cloud-based telephony solutions to companies with fewer than 100 employees. We maintain close relationships with these customers and offer them the support they need. In Colombia, we are heavily investing in these clients and are focused on helping the mid-market grow more efficiently with cost-effective solutions. Though there is significant competition in the market, especially in telephony, social media, and contact centers, Avaya has remained a leader by constantly transforming its products and direction. Our brand name is our most valuable asset, and we strive to maintain the trust of our customers by providing reliable solutions. While there may be many new and trendy options, Avaya is a company in which any customer can trust.

Could tell us more about some of the sustainability initiatives that Avaya is undertaking in Colombia?

We have implemented several corporate initiatives, including a large innovation center in our building where customers in need of support can work with us to enhance their businesses. We offer consultancy services and utilize our expertise to assist SMEs in Colombia, which is an important impact we have invested heavily in. In terms of sustainability, we collaborate with numerous organizations in Colombia to promote environmental preservation and make our products more sustainable. We partner with universities to support communities that require aid, not only in environmental matters, but also to improve people’s lives and provide opportunities. We are a member of the Colombian Contact Center Association (BPRO) and collaborate with them to enhance the performance of BPOs by working with the government and ministry to support the industry. I have been a part of the main board of BPRO, and we also cooperate with other institutions.

What are the priorities for Avaya this year?

Our objective is to become a prominent company in these countries by highlighting the innovative and transformative aspects of Avaya. We are presently undergoing a substantial transformation, and my primary focus is to connect with customers, engage with them, and elucidate the changes we are implementing. We have developed a new roadmap and a fresh line of business that we are positioning to benefit society, offer solutions that foster customer growth, and enhance their quality of life.

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