Get to know: Juan Manuel Mesa, Managing Director, Avaya for the Andean region

Get to know: Juan Manuel Mesa, Managing Director, Avaya for the Andean region

On the lighter side of things, we ask Juan Manuel Mesa, Managing Director, Avaya, for the Andean region, what makes him tick.

Juan Manuel Mesa, Managing Director, Avaya, for the Andean region

What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?

One of my most memorable professional achievements was developing as an engineer focused on transforming people’s lives through technology, leading me to reach senior management positions, such as General Manager of Oracle Colombia, Ecuador and General Director of Avaya for the Andean region. It allowed me to be close to people and work for their happiness, motivations and fulfillment of their dreams.

Also, my most memorable achievement on a personal level is my family. Throughout 13 years of marriage and with the birth of my two daughters, I have tried to pass on to them the values and teachings I have acquired.

What first made you think of a career in technology?

I have always looked up to my father as a role model and guide for my path regarding developing engineering skills. His experience and knowledge in engineering were a great inspiration to me.

I wanted to be in an environment that would allow me to adapt various technologies in my daily life, and I believe my choice was the right one as I could experience professional development in a very interesting field. Technological evolution continues to offer opportunities for the development of innovative solutions that have a positive impact on people’s lives.

What style of management philosophy do you employ in your current position?

In my management approach, I have two fundamental philosophies. The first is to commit myself to delivering the results I set out to achieve and to meet the established objectives. The second is based on open-door management, encouraging teamwork and creating an environment where people feel free to express their opinions. I try to build trust in the team by valuing discussion and ideas exchanges.

What do you think is the current hot technology conversation topic?

In the area of technology, three issues are having a significant impact. The first point is that security has become crucial for businesses, which must establish effective plans to protect their data, an invaluable asset. Secondly, the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms is reaching a critical point, raising questions about how this technology can contribute to human development. Finally, data analytics is based on Big Data, which provides valuable information and has a significant impact on decision-making.

How do you deal with stress and relax outside of the office?

For me, it is essential to switch off during breaks to spend time with my family and play sports. Doing this every day relaxes me and helps me clear my mind. I enjoy running and skiing. I have been a professional water skier for over 30 years and continue to play sports. In addition, taking time to spend with my friends is also necessary. It allows me to refresh my mind when faced with complex situations. Ideas and ways to deal with difficulties emerge with a clear head.

If you could go back and change one career decision, what would it be?

I have always thought of following my father’s footsteps in the oil industry and considering getting involved in economics and business as possible careers. I currently share and build on these business and sales options in my professional life, although my passion for technology has led me down a path that has allowed me to grow and learn in this field. It has also allowed me to envision the opportunities and challenges to meet them with innovation and adaptability.

What do you currently identify as the top investment areas in your industry?

In the context of digital business transformation, I identify three key areas that require investment: IT security, data analytics and integrating Artificial Intelligence into processes. However, the value of providing the best customer experience is a priority issue in all industries and the current business environment. In addition, I can mention other relevant areas such as the use of the cloud, applications, infrastructure and Platform-as-a-Service, which play a significant role in Digital Transformation.

What are the specific challenges of the region when implementing new technologies in Latin America?

In Latin America, the main challenge is to realize a Digital Transformation that integrates efficiently with existing technologies. Companies must balance their previous investments with new technological solutions to boost efficiency and competitiveness. Despite the obstacles, over 70% of companies and CIOs intend to transform their business digitally. At Avaya, we are increasing our investment to accelerate the development of our portfolio and our non-disruptive innovation strategy for our customers at different stages of their transition to the cloud.

What changes have you seen in your job role in the last year and how do you think they will develop in the next 12 months?

Over the past three years, new tools and solutions, such as omnichannel interaction, have completely transformed how we engage with customers. These tools have enabled us to perform deeper analytics and gain valuable customer insights, allowing us to target data effectively for meaningful improvements.

For this reason, the new Avaya roadmap allows companies to move at their own pace and adopt advanced functionality without disrupting their operation.

What advice would you give someone aspiring to a C-level position in your industry?

If a person is interested in technology and likes to know how technology transforms things, it is a good sign to consider studying a technology-based career.

My advice is to have discipline and patience in difficult situations and to work as a team with peers and teachers. It is also crucial to stay enthusiastic and cultivate good habits.

Discipline is essential if you want to achieve your goals. It is necessary to be willing to make sacrifices, have patience, and work for many years on things that may not be entirely right for you but will ultimately give you the training you need to aspire to a management future position. Another important aspect is the development of social skills and their complementation with academic training.

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