Digital transformation was the theme at GITEX 2017, and companies from around the world came together to show vendors, partners, and customers what they could do to facilitate the next stage of UC development. For Polycom, the focus is on simplifying the communication process, while still giving customers access to the diverse range of new solutions on the market, from huddle spaces to HD video. I sat down with Glynn Jones, the EMEA Channel leader for Polycom, to talk more about the future of the company.
Tell Us a Little About Your Experience with Polycom
Glynn is a Polycom Veteran who has worked with the business for more than 17 years now, managing huge elements of the company.
“I think one of the key changes for me was in 2007 when I was invited to take on the voice business. Polycom was known for its conference phones, and at that time we were starting to explore SIP technology. I put together a team of people who were focused on understanding the marketplace, and the types of go-to-market strategies we needed to employ to thrive. It was an interesting ride involving a few acquisitions and a lot of learning.”
How Is Polycom Changing?
As Jones mentioned himself, the shift for Polycom into the Open SIP market was a huge change, so I was interested to discover what he considered some of the most significant evolutions in the Polycom strategy were right now.
“In technology, a lot of changes are taking place constantly. Every company needs to make sure that they’re embracing those changes and driving forward. However, one of the main things that Polycom does, as a business, is focus on the partnership side of our organisation. We’re a partnering company, strengthening connections on the back-end for open SIP with companies like BroadSoft and Microsoft.”
Polycom’s first public strategic alliance with Microsoft took place in 2004, and they’ve followed with the company on their journey through Skype for Business, and now with Teams. Of course, there are other partners in the works too. “The backend is about making sure we’re working with the right partners to provide the best solution. However, the go-to-market partners are key too, as we strive to create a more complete solution.”
Do You Think We’re Going Full-Circle with UC Complexity?
Right now, Polycom is focusing on offering simplicity to their customers in an increasingly complicated marketplace. However, in the desire to make things simple, Polycom is now integrating their solutions with a range of new technologies. I wondered whether Glynn believed that the market was going full-circle in the search for simplicity.
“I wish there was a black and white answer to that question. AV partners have been a core part of our go-to-market strategy for video for a while now, bringing conference room solutions to life for end-users. That’s still a viable option for room systems, but there are now new immersive room systems that are very complex too. If you’re looking at things in terms of complexity, for Polycom it’s all about making the right connections, and the right partnerships, to make the best unique solutions available for each individual user.”
“Ultimately, our aim is to make sure that we can deliver a solution that’s intuitive, relevant, and easy-to-use for the company that needs it. Regardless of the vertical, user experience and interface will always be key for us.”
Polycom is still driven by the need to harness ease of use for the end-customer, but behind that journey, there’s also a lot more complexity rising in the back-end of their strategy. The good news is that the brand has backed the right horses with strategic alliances through Microsoft and BroadSoft.
What Might the Next Five Years Look Like for Polycom?
As we drew towards the end of our interview, I was interested to dive a little deeper into what Glynn considered the vision of the future to look like from Polycom’s perspective. I asked him whether he believed that there would be any significant changes to the business overall, or whether the main focus would be on continuing to build further strategic alliances.
“I think alliances are critical. We all believe that we’re well past the days when any single organisation or vendor can do everything for their customers, completely by themselves. I think in this world; forging alliances is the key to success. Digital transformation is already happening, with new technology around every corner. Right now, we need to start looking at how we can smarten the connections up a little bit.”
“Who knows what kind of technology is going to be around in five years’ time. High quality video has already been a long time coming. I think for now we can just look at the changes in the world, and adapt accordingly. The future, to Polycom, and I, is all about being better, faster, sharper, and smarter.”
“I think the key thing from a UC perspective, is that vendors and companies need to start realising that Unified Communications means different things for different people, in different verticals. All companies need to recognise that there’s no longer a space for one-size-fits-all strategies.”