The need for today’s organizations to share information, along with proliferation of high-speed broadband, has driven the global unified communications (UC) market for the past decade, if not longer. UC streamlines communications so that geologically-dispersed employees can interact digitally as if they’re in the same office, even if they’re located thousands of miles apart.
Centralized administration also makes UC popular with IT managers because it reduces the time and effort needed to support and secure corporate communications of all kinds. Because of a need for specialized skills to make large-scale UC implementations run their best, top UC vendors offer certifications to buttress and boost workforce capability and quality.
Simply Hired lists $91,623 as the average salary for a UC engineer’s role, with highest salaries reported at $139,737. Glassdoor lists UC salaries as high as $166,000 for senior and UC engineer positions. UC engineer salaries declined slightly from previous years with the average down from $94,354 to $91,623 (a dip of just under three percent). While this dip could just represent normal market fluctuations, it is a trend worth watching because we also observed a slight salary decrease last year.
We dug into various job boards to see how many UC jobs are available, specifically targeting jobs that called out one or more of our top five certifications: Avaya ACSS, CCIE Collaboration, CCNP Collaboration, IBM Sametime and MCSE: Productivity.
Because new UC technologies continually come to market, UC offers interesting, high-demand job opportunities as companies seek to Improve communication and collaboration. However, UC is no easy career path. UC roles require knowledge of several IT areas and technical disciplines. As a result, earning UC certifications often requires multiple exams and credentials.
The following sections dig into the details for our top five certs, listed in order of sponsor name, not by any planned ranking.
For IT professionals supporting Avaya products, the ACSS is a must-have credential. The company updated its certification programs in late 2015 and currently offers two separate professional certification tracks:
Sales and Design – this track offers three credentials:
Services – this track is aligned with Avaya engagement solutions and products, so you’ll see two flavors for some of the certifications depending on which solution track (product or engagement solution) is targeted. Avaya currently offers the following Services credentials:
The advanced-level ACSS cert targets more experienced Avaya practitioners both in support specialist and product specialist roles, covering 19 individual credentials. Candidates should possess technical skills sufficient to configure, install and administer Avaya products. Also, they should be well-versed in Avaya product maintenance, and in testing product implementations and troubleshooting issues. Successful candidates typically possess at least two years’ direct experience supporting Avaya products and four years working with the chosen Avaya technology. Each certification is valid for two years.
Requirements to obtain the ACSS certification depend on which credential one chooses to pursue. For information on prerequisite skills, curriculum maps, required training and the number of exams for individual credentials, visit Avaya’s credential program webpage. (Click the Services Credentials tab, then click on the ACSS button to view the full Catalog. Additional program information appears in the Avaya Professional Credential Program Overview.)
|Certification Name||Avaya Certified Solution Specialist (ACSS)|
|Prerequisites & Required Courses||Minimum of 4 years’ experience in the relevant technology plus 2 years’ experience supporting the Avaya product. Training is required and available in multiple formats (classroom, virtual classroom and on-demand); depending on solution track. Expect to pay between $3,500 and $4,500 per classroom course, or $1,400 per 16-hour course, and $2,100 per 24-hour course in the virtual classroom or on-demand.|
|Number of Exams||One exam per credential|
|Cost of Exam||$125
Exams administered by Pearson VUE
Cisco offers its CCIE Collaboration certification, which identifies expert skills in unified communications, video and telecom. Only the cream of the crop earns the CCIE, and CCIE Collaboration is no exception.
The expert-level CCIE Collaboration credential recognizes seasoned collaboration and UC architects, as well as voice and video network managers, who design, deploy and troubleshoot enterprise collaboration solutions that are moderately to highly complex. Although the certification requires no prerequisites or specific training, Cisco designed the CCIE Collaboration for individuals with true expertise and lots of relevant experience (three to five years, minimum) with UC solution integration, configuration and troubleshooting.
Like other CCIE certs, the certification has a written qualification exam and a hands-on lab exam, both of which are rigorous and often take multiple attempts to pass. Cisco includes emerging technologies in its assessments. A great value-add available through the Cisco 360 Learning Program for CCIE Collaboration is remote access to an online environment that contains equipment to practice hands-on for the lab exam.
CCIE credential holders must recertify every two years or it will be suspended. It’s the responsibility of the credential holder to keep track of their individual recertification deadline. You can apply for a one-year extension to complete re-cert requirements, but if you miss that deadline, your certification is lost forever.
Recertification involves passing a single exam. Currently, acceptable recertification exams include any current CCIE written or lab exam, or a current CCDE written or practical exam. Credential holders may also recertify by passing the Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr) interview and board review. Alternatively, credential holders may recertify through participation in the Cisco Continuing Education Program (CEP). To recertify through the CEP, credential holders must earn 100 continuing education credits, pay a $300 administrative fee, and agree to CEP terms and conditions.
|Certification Name||Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) Collaboration|
|Prerequisites & Required Courses||No course prerequisites. In-depth understanding of exam Topics plus three to five years of job experience recommended.|
|Number of Exams||Two exams: Written qualification exam (Exam 400-051 version 2.0: CCIE Collaboration), 90 to 110 questions, 120 minutes.
Hands-on lab exam (Version 2.0), 8 hours.
|Cost of Exam||Written exam: $450, exam 400-051
Lab exam: $1,600 per attempt
|Self-Study Materials||Written exam: The CCIE written exam website maintains a list of Cisco Press resources, reference and design guides, training, self-assessment tools, and more. Additional self-study resources are available from the Cisco Learning Network Store.
CCIE Lab Exam: The Cisco Learning Network maintains a list of self-study resources for the CCIE lab exam.
CCIE Practice Exam: Udemy offers a practice exam with weekly-updated Questions Answers as the final prep for the CCIE.
The intermediate-level CCNP Collaboration recognizes network engineers who are well versed in Cisco Voice and UC devices and applications in enterprise networks.
Four exams are required to qualify for the CCNP Collaboration credential. A certified candidate designs, implements, configures, manages and troubleshoots Cisco UC applications, networks and devices. Candidates should have in-depth knowledge of all facets of unified networking, including gateways, IP phones, quality of service (QoS), voice, video and presence applications, and utilities for configuring Cisco routers and switches, in addition to one to three years’ experience with these technologies.
Training is recommended but not required. Cisco offers in-depth training courses, both in the classroom and online, for each exam. Depending on the training provider, classroom live and virtual classroom live courses cost approximately $3,795, while online self-paced courses start at about $1,100. Training courses typically last five days.
The CCNP Collaboration, like all Cisco professional-level certifications, requires recertification every three years. To recertify, you must pass one Cisco exam before your cert’s expiration date. Acceptable exams include any current 642-XXX professional-level exam, any 300-XXX professional-level exam, any CCIE written exam, any CCDE written or practical exam, or passing the Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr) interview and board review.
The intermediate-level IBM Sametime administrator credential aims at systems administrators with existing skills and hands-on experience in IBM Sametime 9.0. Candidates must understand architectural considerations when running IBM Sametime within an IBM WebSphere environment. They must also demonstrate their knowledge of Sametime deployment and audio/video configuration within Sametime, along with management, troubleshooting, performance monitoring and optimization techniques.
The certification requires candidates to pass a 78-question multiple-choice exam, to be completed in no more than 105 minutes. IBM emphasizes the need for hands-on experience before tackling this exam, stating that “direct application of the skills learned cannot be substituted” with any of the self-study materials. The exam measures a candidate’s knowledge of task performance rather than memorization of features and functions.
In addition to the Certified System Administrator credential, IBM also offers two related certifications:
The IBM Certified System Administrator – IBM Lotus Sametime 8.5 credential is still available for those working in Lotus Sametime 8.5 environments.
While IBM certifications are evergreen and don’t expire, the same cannot be said for technology. Credential holders should plan to move up and recertify on new technology as it becomes available.
|Certification Name||IBM Certified System Administrator – Sametime V9.0|
|Prerequisites||Basic IBM Sametime administration knowledge plus hands-on experience with IBM Sametime V9.0|
|Number of Exams||One exam: Exam C2040-413: IBM Sametime 9.0 Administration (78 questions, 105 minutes, 52 questions required to pass)|
|Cost of Exam||$200. Exams administered by Pearson VUE.|
|Self-Study Materials||IBM maintains a list of exam objectives, Technotes, product documentation and web resources for the exam. Also, candidates can purchase a web-based sample/practice exam (number A2040-413 Assessment: IBM Sametime 9.0 Administration) from Pearson VUE for $30.|
The MCSE: Productivity certification targets professionals supporting enterprise-grade hybrid and cloud solutions for Microsoft Office. Key technologies include Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Office, Exchange, Skype for Business and SharePoint.
To obtain the MCSE: Productivity credential, candidates must first obtain the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): Office 365, MCSA: Windows Server 2012 or MCSA Windows Server 2016 certification. Then, they must pass one additional exam from an approved list. Currently, there are eight different exams to choose from. In addition, Microsoft recommends three to four years of experience.
The Microsoft Certification Program underwent extensive changes in September 2016. Once you earn one of the latest MCSE credentials, you do not have to recertify within three years as was the case in the past. However, by passing an elective exam each calendar year, you add an entry to your transcript that indicates your commitment to staying current on technologies and expanding your skillset.
|Certification Name||Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Productivity|
|Prerequisites & Required Courses||MCSA: Office 365, MCSA: Windows Server 2012 or MCSA Windows Server 2016 certification
Three or more years of experience recommended.
|Number of Exams||Candidates must pass one of the following exams:
Exam 70-345: Designing and Deploying Microsoft Exchange Server 2016
Exam 70-339: Managing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2016
Exam 70-333: Deploying Enterprise Voice with Skype for Business 2015
Exam 70-334: Core Solutions of Microsoft Skype for Business 2015
Exam 70-331: Core Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013
Exam 70-332: Advanced Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013
Exam 70-341: Core Solutions of Microsoft Exchange Server 2013
Exam 70-342: Advanced Solutions of Microsoft Exchange Server 2013
|Cost of Exam||$165 per exam. Exams administered by Pearson VUE.|
|Self-Study Materials||Microsoft provides links to training, practice exams by third-party vendors such as Mindhub and MeasureUp, case studies, exam study groups and more. Links to community support forums and other resources are listed on each exam web page. Microsoft also offers various training options through its Microsoft Official Courses On-Demand (MOC On-Demand) program.|
The UC certification landscape is not as crowded as the pool of general networking certs or the increasingly popular cloud and mobile credentials, but UC is on the rise nonetheless. In fact, traditional UC is increasingly offered through the cloud, forcing certifications to take on a new flavor to accommodate the latest technologies and techniques.
In addition to the top five certs covered in this article, many colleges and universities offer courses in unified communications or certificate programs aimed at workforce training. Note that most of those programs incorporate Cisco equipment and applications. Other programs are available, though. We conducted a simple Google search that revealed several interesting choices, including the Information Technology: Network Specialist Concentration at the Pennsylvania College of Technology.
Another consideration is Mitel Networks. Although the company doesn’t offer its own IT career certifications as of this writing, Gartner considers Mitel one of the leaders in the UC market, and the company name appears in job board searches for “unified communications” with great frequency. That means there’s an abundance of open positions that call for Mitel experience and/or knowledge. When evaluating UC certifications, and especially certificate programs through colleges or universities, consider if the required skills and knowledge might transfer to a job working with Mitel technology.
“The solution illustrates how organizations can extend their contact centers into the metaverse, leveraging advanced innovations without impacting their existing contact center investment,” Nidal Abou-Ltaif, President, Avaya International said.
It demonstrates a use case for opening a business in the UAE within the metaverse and receiving seamless customer support from a contact center agent at every step of the journey. This kind of innovation without disruption will help businesses, he said.The solution will be taken to the Indian market as well, depending on the customer’s demand, he said.
The solution is developed by Avaya’s Dubai-based team in collaboration with Avanza. The ‘Metaverse Experience’ solution will support Dubai's ambition to be one of the top 10 global cities for the metaverse economy. The Metaverse Experience solution was demonstrated at GITEX Global in Dubai.
Avaya, a provider of cloud communication and workstream collaboration solutions, has signed an agreement with Startek, a customer experience (CX) solutions provider.
As part of the MoU, Startek will explore hosting a range of Avaya OneCloud portfolio solutions. This will be with the intent of making them available to businesses in a compelling package that includes contact centre agents and institutional expertise in customer experience.
A subscription-based pricing model will be used to provide access to the solution, which will allow organisations to purchase the capacity, services, and people they need as and when they need them, without having to pay large upfront costs for such services.
The agreement will aim to create a packaged solution of both technology and services that can be extended to Startek customers globally, with the technology built on the Avaya OneCloud experience platform.
“Startek enables brands across the globe to build long-term customer relationships through the delivery of human-centric experiences,” said Abhinandan Jain, chief digital officer, Startek. “In today’s economic climate, small and medium-sized businesses want to avoid large upfront costs and make the best use of their internal resources by outsourcing non-core activities. By partnering with Avaya, we create the opportunity for emerging enterprises to benefit from market-leading CX delivered through a bundled data, people and technology solution – all at a fixed monthly cost.”
“We’re coming together to address a market need – namely, to make it easy for businesses to consume a technology platform, along with market-leading people and processes. Working together, we’re able to extend the benefits of the reliability and expertise that industry leaders such as Avaya and Startek bring to the market,” said Nidal Abou-Ltaif, president, Avaya International.
Read: Gitex Global: Vodafone, Ericsson facilitate data-driven decisions with AI-based solutions in Oman
Partnership to provide unparalleled, frictionless customer experience to MEA customers
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, October 11, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--GITEX Global--Uniphore, the leader in Conversational AI and Automation, today at GITEX Global 2022, announced a strategic partnership with Avaya (NYSE: AVYA), a global leader in solutions to enhance and simplify communications and collaboration, to bring its integrated Conversational AI and communications platform to customers across the Middle East and African (MEA) region.
Uniphore’s Conversational AI and Automation products will add deep functionality to the Avaya OneCloud™ CCaaS platform. Avaya OneCloud CCaaS makes it easy to connect chat, video, voice, and messaging to deliver enhanced experiences for customers and employees at every touchpoint.
With Uniphore, Avaya OneCloud CCaaS users will be able to track, measure, and Improve their contact center journey with increased self-serve capabilities, frictionless agent experience, and needle-moving insights. Avaya’s customers will have access to Uniphore’s conversational AI and automation solutions and will be well-placed to digitally onboard customers, including from social media platforms driven by AI-powered solutions.
Uniphore's comprehensive X platform is an integrated conversational AI and automation platform that combines natural language processing (NLP), robotic process automation (RPA), automatic speech recognition (ASR), including the Arabic language, emotion AI, and knowledge AI that enterprises need in today’s tech-savvy consumer era. These technology components translate into specific customer offerings in chatbots, voice bots, conversational analytics for quality automation, real-time customer analysis, and agent guidance.
"In today’s uncertain world, consumers want brands to address their needs quickly and efficiently; this makes the customer experience more important than ever," said Kennedy Pereira, VP, CCaaS Ecosystem, Global Alliances and Partnerships at Uniphore. "We are excited to partner with Avaya to enhance CX, better understand customer insights to achieve superior business outcomes, Improve employee performances, and lower customer costs."
The integrated platform will also enhance employee productivity and efficiency by guiding agents in real-time with in-call alerts, next best action and reduce their after-call work by automating call summarization. This allows agents more time to focus on creating emotional connections with customers, delivering exceptional CX, and reducing operating costs by improving time to resolution and first call resolutions (FCR).
"With Avaya OneCloud CCaaS, we make it easy to connect customers, agents and back-office staff with the insights they need to deliver great experiences. And by adding the power of Uniphore’s AI and automation tools to the platform, we’re able to magnify the effects of these capabilities. We’re excited about the solutions that our joint customers will be able to create with our technologies," said Ahmad Dorra, Customer Experience Solutions Sales Leader – Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Avaya.
Visit the Avaya stand at GITEX Global at booth Z3-B35 and booth Z1-C10, Zabeel Hall, Dubai World Trade Centre between October 12 and 14, 2022 to learn how Avaya and Uniphore work together to create seamless CX. Uniphore will have its conversational AI and automation platform woven into the Avaya demonstrations on display, showcasing solutions that unlock the value of every conversation.
Uniphore is the global leader in Conversational Automation. Every day, billions of conversations take place across industries — customer service, sales, HR, education and more. Whether they are human to human, human to machine or machine to machine, conversations are at the heart of everything we do, and the new currency of the enterprise.
At Uniphore, we believe companies that best understand and take action on those conversations will win. We have built the most comprehensive and powerful conversational automation platform that combines conversational AI, workflow automation and RPA (Robotic Process Automation) with a business user friendly UX in a single integrated platform to transform and democratize customer experiences across industries.
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Businesses are built by the experiences they provide, and everyday millions of those experiences are delivered by Avaya Holdings Corp. (NYSE: AVYA). Avaya is shaping what's next for the future of work, with innovation and partnerships that deliver game-changing business benefits. Our cloud communications solutions and multi-cloud application ecosystem power personalized, intelligent, and effortless customer and employee experiences to help achieve strategic ambitions and desired outcomes. Together, we are committed to help grow your business by delivering Experiences that Matter. Learn more at http://www.avaya.com
View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20221010005684/en/
Florius, a leading, Netherlands-based mortgage lender, has used Avaya technology to significantly enhance the customer experience while simultaneously enabling its contact centre agents to adapt to a hybrid work environment.
The Automated Quality Management capabilities of Avaya OneCloud, integrated with Florius business applications, has empowered remote employees with digital tools to raise the quality of all customer interactions through advanced, real-time speech analytics, said a statement.
“The customer journey is very important to us,” said Seif Alhamrany, head of the Advisory Team at Florius. “We are committed to a fast turnaround for mortgage applications, so we need to put the customer in the center, have fast access to as much information as possible, and automate processes as much as possible.”
Changed workloads during the pandemic forced Florius to quickly adapt to a hybrid work scenario. By the same token, direct insight into the changed contact behaviour of customers became essential during this time of uncertainty. “We need to adapt very fast to provide our customers with the best service and also to provide our employees with the best solutions” said Deliane Schimmel, Managing Director, Advisory & Service, Florius.
Using Avaya solution, Florius was able to remotely introduce AI-powerd speech analytics and quality management tools, which monitored 100% of customer calls and then provided guidance on the next best answer. This gave agents direct insight into Topics that would usually require training, while also enabling them to work according to more flexible schedules from home.
“A good example of this came when there was amended legislation concerning delayed mortgage payments. Employees did not have to be trained on this first, because they were provided with the correct knowledge in real-time - during conversations where payment and COVID were discussed. As a result, the agent was able to provide the right answer quickly, because they immediately had the right information and could share it with the customer,” explained Alhamrany.
Avaya and NTT, the Avaya partner that integrated the solution, worked closely with Florius to integrate the Avaya solutions with the company’s CRM system, a step that broadened the view of the customer journey and provided new insights for agents.
“Florius has always built its reputation on the experiences it provides to its customers, and this use of advanced technologies to draw intelligence from voice conversations is just the latest in a long line of innovations. We’re proud to be supporting Florius as it continues to push the boundaries of great customer experience,” said Nidal Abou-Ltaif, President, Avaya International. -TradeArabia News Service
During GITEX Global this week, Avaya (NYSE: AVYA), a global leader in solutions to enhance and simplify communications and collaboration, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Startek (NYSE: SRT), a global customer experience (CX) solutions provider, that will see the two companies partner to make it easier for global businesses to meet the ever-evolving needs of their customers.
As part of the MOU, Startek will explore hosting a range of Avaya OneCloud portfolio solutions with the intent of making them available to businesses in a compelling package that includes contact centre agents and institutional expertise in customer experience. This one-stop solution will be made available through a subscription-based pricing model, enabling organisations to purchase the capacity, services and people they require, as and when needed, without large upfront costs.
The agreement will aim to create a packaged solution of both technology and services that can be extended to Startek customers globally, with the technology built on the Avaya OneCloud experience platform.
“Startek enables brands across the globe to build long-term customer relationships through the delivery of human-centric experiences,” said Abhinandan Jain, Chief Digital Officer, Startek. “In today’s economic climate, small and medium-sized businesses want to avoid large upfront costs and make the best use of their internal resources by outsourcing non-core activities. By partnering with Avaya, we create the opportunity for emerging enterprises to benefit from market-leading CX delivered through a bundled data, people and technology solution – all at a fixed monthly cost.”
“We’re coming together to address a market need – namely, to make it easy for businesses to consume a technology platform, along with market-leading people and processes. Working together, we’re able to extend the benefits of the reliability and expertise that industry leaders such as Avaya and Startek bring to the market,” said Nidal Abou-Ltaif, President, Avaya International.
This collaboration will enable businesses to deliver better experiences to their customers through an all-inclusive, easy-to-manage subscription-based service. This will help them roll-out new services faster and significantly reduce the total cost of ownership to deliver a better return on investments.
Cloud communications firm Avaya has announced a new strategic partnership with Wavenet, a UK-based cloud telecoms and technology provider, to deliver its unified communications as a service (UCaaS) offering to the UK channel.
The collaboration combines UCaaS and contact centre as a service (CCaaS) with its own bundled calls and minutes to help businesses deliver enhanced experiences for customers. Wavenet will act as a wholesale service provider and tier 1 value-added reseller (VAR) across the UK.
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Partners will be able to benefit from a self-service managed platform that allows customisation, customer control, as well as the ability to bill customers directly.
Announcing the move at the GITEX Global conference, the pair said the collaboration will enable UK-based organisations to deliver “effortless, best-in-class experiences” for both customers and employees during every interaction.
“Our partners are serving customers in a business environment that has changed significantly over the past couple of years, and against that backdrop, it’s no surprise that demand for cloud-based communications experience technology has increased,” said Antony Black, director of wholesale at Wavenet.
“By offering the combination of the Avaya market-leading UCaaS and CCaaS experience technology with Wavenet’s bundled voice plans, we are able to provide the wholesale partners with a fully self-service managed platform allowing them to control their customers and more importantly bill directly.”
Expected to be available to Wavenet customers and its network of UK wholesale channel partners in Q1 2023, the combined offering can be rolled out to customers within hours, while customisations for more complex infrastructures can be made “quickly and easily”, the pair said.
Fadi Moubarak, Avaya’s vice president of channels, added that the agreement with Wavenet will enable joint partners to “position an enterprise-class solution without the enterprise-class pricing”.
“Being natively cloud-based, the platform will keep customers at the cutting edge in terms of feature sets, and can be flexibly tailored and deployed in diverse ways to match the requirements of any business,” he said.
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New York, New York--(Newsfile Corp. - October 6, 2022) - Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP, a leading national securities law firm, is investigating potential claims against Avaya Holdings Corp. ("Avaya" or the "Company") (NYSE: AVYA).
If you suffered losses exceeding $50,000 investing in Avaya stock or options and would like to discuss your legal rights, call Faruqi & Faruqi partner Josh Wilson directly at 877-247-4292 or 212-983-9330 (Ext. 1310). You may also click here for additional information: www.faruqilaw.com/AVYA.