Avaya Exec Jumps Ship To UCaaS Rival RingCentral To Drive Professional Services

RingCentral's services business is getting a shot in the arm by nabbing Derrell James, who was previously responsible for nearly $2 billion of business at Avaya while serving as that company's senior vice president of global strategic services.

"This is a great win for RingCentral and us," said Patrick Oborn, co-founder of Sandy, Utah-based Telarus, who partners with RingCentral. "UCaaS is all about the services and [Derrell] seems to fit the mold perfectly for this."

The Belmont, Calif.-based unified communications as a service (UCaaS) specialist said it is expanding its services capabilities with the appointed of James as its new senior vice president of professional services, who brings more than 30 years of experience to the company.

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James was at Avaya for nearly three years, according to his LinkedIn profile. He was responsible for a $2 billion line of business at Avaya, according to RingCentral, and he also held leadership positions at EMC and Perot Systems.

In January, Avaya filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a move CEO Kevin Kennedy said was the "best path forward" to combat the company's $6 billion debt. The company needs to raise $600 million for a debt maturity in October 2017.

Avaya recently filed a reorganization plan that outlines a path to strengthen its balance sheet, which included the failed attempt to sell its contact center business. In March, Avaya unveiled that it would be selling its networking business for $100 million to Extreme Networks.

James could not immediately be reached for comment.

"We're thrilled to have Derrell James join the RingCentral team," said Ryan Azus, senior vice president of global sales at RingCentral, in a statement. "The goal of our professional services team is to be there at every phase of deployment and integration, including initial planning, strategic consultations, comprehensive implementation, integration designs, and ongoing support and system training."

The company said professional services attach rates have increased as enterprises demand advanced services to ensure successful deployment and ongoing management.

Oborn said demand for RingCentral solutions has been on the rise over the past few quarters as UCaaS becomes more mainstream.

"This is the market to be in right now, and RingCentral is at the front of it," said Oborn. "I'm excited to see what [James] brings to the table."

RingCentral is the top UCaaS provider in terms of revenue, supported endpoints and number of UCaaS employees, according to the research firm Gartner. The company was ranked No. 1 for vision in Gartner's 2016 Magic Quadrant For Unified Communications As A Service.