Keys to Success

By Pierre Colin Print this article Print

Romancing the Clone: How Avaya overcame major challenges untangling data from its Nortel acquisition.

Extra-ordinary level of commitment

The project had been a race since Day One. Its success was only possible due to an extra-ordinary level of commitment from all of the teams, who spent countless hours of work and private time to keep the project on schedule.

Leadership support

The migration team had direct CIO access and daily involvement. We received unconditional support from the Avaya’s IT and executive-level leadership, who were fully energized to make the project a success.

Managing people and diversity

One of the biggest challenges was to drive for results while collaborating with people from different companies, often with opposing aspirations or direction. Identified very early as a high risk, the appointment of seasoned people managers to lead the project mitigated much of the risk.


The project required a strong team and strict discipline to achieve success and Avaya’s partners hit the mark.  The team listened and responded quickly when adjustments were needed.
Organizational Model

The core project team was assisted by a small external and vendor-neutral team of executive Project Managers supported by a Management Consultant Sponsor. This model proved to be effective on numerous occasions given the extremely complex vendor landscape involving 11 companies.

Emphasis on Risk Management

Prioritizing time and schedule on a project of this magnitude has significant impacts for the level of risk. With time at a premium, it might seem more efficient to overlook creation of contingency plans.  Regardless, the project team spent considerable effort ensuring a Plan B was always readily available.

Working Globally

The project ran for 10 months as a 24x7 initiative. Using a global team of resources doubled the team’s horse power. There wasn’t a single morning where progress had not been made since the night before.

Pierre Colin was the lead technical and cut-over architect on the Avaya team for the Nortel integration project. He is an IT Director at Avaya under the leadership of CIO Steve Gold.

This article was originally published on 2011-12-05
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