If you’ve been following us on CommsTrader for a while now, then you know we’re always keen to have the latest information on the growing companies in the communications sector. Our chat with Charlie James, the director for Microsoft Alliance EMEA gave us a stronger insight into the connection between Microsoft and Polycom, and how it’s grown over the years.
Charles told us about the pillars of the relationship that Polycom has with Microsoft and told us to watch this space for Microsoft Ignite announcements. Now that Microsoft Ignite is finally in full swing, and new announcements have been delivered, we got together for a chat with Amy Barzdukas – the CMO of Polycom to find out more.
How has Microsoft Ignite Been for Polycom?
I began my interview with Amy by asking how she’s experienced the chaos and excitement of being at Microsoft Ignite this year, as one of the biggest partners for the technology giant. She told me that she was having an absolutely fantastic experience, and Polycom has started to see more attention than ever:
“It’s a fantastic experience here at Ignite. I remember reading a book by Letitia Baldridge, where she discussed what made a good party. She felt that any party that had people standing “butt to butt” was a good one – and that’s certainly what we’ve got here with the Polycom booth at Ignite. It’s incredibly busy, and people are very excited.”
It’s a Big Year for Microsoft, What’s Been Significant for You So Far?
Microsoft has been making some pretty serious announcements lately, and as we’ve seen from the latest press releases involving Polycom, the company will be supporting Microsoft every step of the way. With the connection between Microsoft and Polycom growing stronger than ever, I was interested to learn what Polycom considered to be the most significant announcement at Ignite so far.
Amy suggested that Microsoft Teams was the biggest focus for them so far. “As you know, we’ve been working closely with Microsoft for about 15 years now, as a key partner for their Unified Collaboration offering. The move to Teams is a big one for us, and we’ll be right there to help support our customers through their migration journey.”
Polycom recently announced that they will be supporting Teams with high-quality video and audio solutions. Additionally, the brand has commented that they will be releasing a “hybrid” form of their RealConnect solution that will be available from next month. Another big point for Polycom is that their MSR Series Skype Room Systems will now be available for Teams too!
Have You Been Working on this Transformation for a While?
I was interested to learn more about the latest changes in the Microsoft and Polycom relationship. After all, it seemed likely that Polycom had been focusing on their solutions for a while now, to help them correspond with the Teams announcements:
“We’ve been working on RealConnect for a while. We have RealConnect available on-premises already, and RealConnect for Office 365, so basically, the hybrid solution is just our way of responding to what our customers need. We know that we have clients out there that are still transitioning to the cloud, or that need to maintain a hybrid system. Our new hybrid availability simply means that everyone in the Polycom customer base gets what they ask for.”
For Polycom, the updates in their portfolio, both with Microsoft and otherwise, are about making life simpler for their users:
“When we survey our customers and ask about what they’re most interested in, they tell us that they’re looking for straight-forward, consistent solutions that can give them a better overall workplace experience. That’s exactly what we’re trying to deliver.”
It Seems Like the Microsoft Relationship Has Never Been Stronger
To me, it appears that the Microsoft relationship with Polycom is more powerful today than it’s ever been. Amy confirmed that thought, telling me that Polycom has a very strong relationship with Microsoft, and the benefits are mutual on both sides. Now that Unified Communications has become a larger part of the Microsoft Azure Stack, and Office 365 is bigger than ever, Polycom will be there to support the customers through their journey from Skype for Business and Teams.
Amy told me: “There will definitely be more happening with Polycom on the Microsoft front, and in terms of other solutions too – but I can’t say much about that right now. What customers should focus on, is the fact that we’ll be making the Polycom RealPresence Group Series a key component in the strategy that works with Skype for Business today, and Teams tomorrow. In other words, we’re making sure we can future-proof our solutions.”
This seemed like a particularly important point, considering the fact that most businesses know what they invest in today needs to be compatible with new technology tomorrow.
“We want our customers to know that we’re ready for the future.”
Every update from Polycom lately has been focused on keeping the customer in mind. The MSR Series for Microsoft rooms are now available for pre-order, bringing enterprise-class video and audio capabilities to rooms of all shapes and sizes. You can register your interest on the website now.