The demise of IP phones has been grossly exaggerated. However, the proof is in the pudding, but don’t take my word for it.
Frost and Sullivan developed a thorough article backed up with tangible data.
While growth is not as robust as it was in the past there are opportunities.
The proof is in the pudding, but don’t take my word for it. Read this piece for yourself
Millennials are an interesting bunch. Marketers are studying, analyzing and, in some cases over-analyzing their purchasing decisions. At the same time, companies are working to identify the business communication needs for their workforce, of which millennials play a big role. Conventional wisdom says millennials want the latest and greatest collaboration tools, and this includes the desktop phone.
No Jitter recently published a proactive article about millennials and desktop phones which got me thinking and ultimately wondering whether millennials like their desktop phones more than we think. And here’s why. More and more companies see the value and ROI of building a visual and more collaborative corporate culture. Gone are the days of device doldrums where business communication tools were accessed in silos. Further compounding this thought process; desktop phones offer a budget friendly and a reliable entry point for video. Keep in mind content sharing, instant message and real time collaboration are available at a workers finger tips. In other words: this is not your old school phone.
The workplace of the future is HERE and collaboration is different for the enterprise, mid-sized and small business. Yet business communication tools must be similar to or have the ability to be seamlessly integrated into the applications workers use when they are in or outside of the office.
Now before you go from 0 to 100 on this, ask yourself: does the wave of device democracy support the point of view that millennials like desktop phones because they’ve moved beyond being just a phone?
If they’re business communication tools that are a part of a millennial’s workflow, which means the tool is easy to use AND helps them get their job done, is it a stretch to think they might actually like it?
What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Red Tree Leadership and Development
I'm headed to LA next week for the #Channel Management Summit. If you’re attending check out Barb Huelskamp, Polycom’s Vice President ofAmericas Channel Sales session
The 8th Annual Channel Management Summit is set to take place Aug. 24-26 in Los Angeles, California. This event brings key industry leaders together to discuss challenges and opportunities within the IT channel. Presenters share best practices, innovative channel strategies, partner management and recruitment tips. Barb Huelskamp, Polycom’s vice president of America’s channel sales, joins the roster of presenters at this year’s event. We recently caught up with Barb to get her take on IT channel trends and her upcoming presentation.
Q: There has been a lot of discussion around the workplace of the future and the role the channel will play, what advice do you have for channel players?
Barb: Partners must evolve their sales strategy. The future is about workflow, work process and user experience. Many partners have relationships with decision makers and they need ask the right questions in order to showcase how technology can be leveraged to solve business problems. One of my favorite sayings is, “You don’t know, what you don’t know.” There are so many opportunities that are the result of asking questions.
Q: We are more than half way through 2015, what have you seen thus far? Is it fair to characterize 2015 as a year of fundamental change in the IT channel?
Barb: Fundamental change, probably not. However, partners need to be connected to their customers now more than ever. Market drivers have caused some to make investments for the future, while others have been hesitant to change. Thus far, service oriented solutions and sales are increasing at a steady pace due to video as a service (VaaS) and new hybrid consuption models. Overall, I expect this will continue to drive change within the channel.
Q: Several players in the IT channel are investigating new media and social selling to extend their marketing efforts. What are partners telling you?
Barb: More and more companies in the IT channel are leveraging social media for lead generation, prospecting, event marketing, customer service and more. I read a report published by the Aberdeen Group, and “79 percent of salespeople who incorporate social media into their sales process make quota compared to the industry average of 43 percent.”
Getting started is the toughest challenge for many organizations. It is hard for some companies to get executive buy in or balance priorities in light of reduced market development funds while trying to fend off increased competition.
Q: Interesting. So what’s your advice to your colleagues in the IT channel about social media?
Barb: My presentation at the 8th Annual Channel Management Summit covers this a bit, but in summary, every organization needs to make the investment in social media tools. I advise them to keep it simple and start by reviewing their business objectives and better understand their buyer’s journey. Polycom developed a program to help our partners get started in social media because we recognize the value of the medium and because we’re always looking for ways to help partners.
For more information:
What is top of mind for you right now?
Top of mind for me is to continue to drive growth across all my regions, so I am excited to see how things
develop in the Benelux over the next few months. We have made several changes over the past six months within the region and we continue to invest and strengthen our commitment in this market.
The team and I continue to take a positive view of our partner landscape. We also continue to work closely with our partners to understand their go-to-market models and integrate our go-to-market approach with them.
By taking this approach we enable them to be successful with Polycom by creating specific relationship models that are fit for purpose by region. In addition, we continue to work with our distribution partners in the region to ensure we support our partners and use our resources effectively.
What are you seeing in the market place?
One thing that is interesting to me is that we are increasingly seeing end users requiring more in-depth knowledge of what the collaboration solution can deliver, to help justify their investments to the board. For them it is no longer about travel savings anymore; customers are more interested in the business benefits a collaboration solution can offer, for example - better serving their own customers through more agile and flexible business processes.
We are also finding that the professional services and financial sectors are very inquisitive as to how they can use technology differently and are challenging us to come up with different ways of using our technology; namely to support mobile workers, working with clients on different systems and bridging them together. In education and healthcare we are seeing an increased interest in voice solutions optimised for Microsoft Skype for Business.
I have been managing the region now for one and a half years and in that time it has become apparent to me that the Netherlands and Belgium are a nation of early adopters; they are proud of their internet connections and how they can use technology on the go. There is a big appetite for flexible working in the region. In fact, just recently, a new Dutch legislation on ‘flex work’ was agreed which means all employees who have worked for six months or longer at a company can now submit a request for flexible hours and to work remotely if their jobs allows this. A great opportunity for us, as we expect to see a rise in mobile workers across the region.
I find the Benelux region really forward thinking. For example, in highly concentrated traffic areas in the Netherlands, commuters can be paid up to 150 Euros per month if they don’t travel to their work place between 8am -10am. The introduction of a similar idea has been included in the Belgian political agenda several times.
How are you capitalising on these trends?
As we see the requirement for businesses to utilise their current investment and ‘sweat their legacy assets’ far more, they are looking at the integration of their current environment and how they can bring it altogether. A lot of companies with mixed environments, using for example solutions from Polycom, Microsoft and a competitor solution are looking at Polycom to provide the platform to run it all, using our bridging technology to pull multi-vendor environments together. This is delivering many opportunities for us, in fact, in a recent customer site test, Polycom was seen to be the most efficient and effective solution of bridging disparate platforms together.
With the big appetite for flexible and mobile working, we have a great opportunity in the Benelux region and I look forward to seeing this come to fruition in the coming months.
Converging shifts in technology, demographics, culture, physical workspaces and competitive dynamics have already begun to reshape the modern work environment. As a result, IT leaders across the globe are focused on driving innovation, optimizing IT budgets and future proofing their organizations with collaborative technology. Research consistently shows they are also focused on enabling their workforce through the right tools and solutions.
This week we highlight Josh Lesavoy, Chief Information Officer at Nextiva to get his take on industry trends, the modern workplace and advice for customers.
Q: Tell us about Nextiva and your role within the organization.
Josh: I joined Nextiva in 2007 and currently serve as our Chief Information Officer. I am responsible for directing the company’s technology plans and investments. Additionally, I manage all of our data center operations and the relationships with Nextiva’s carriers and vendors. I’m also heavily involved in our strategic planning and product development.
Q: Consumers are demanding more from the collaboration solutions they use. This has accelerated the development of software alternatives and/or services in the cloud. What do you think is driving demand?
Josh: I believe a huge contributing factor to this is the rise of the modern office environment, an increase in remote workers, and the demand for flexible work hours. Employees want to be able to work from wherever, whenever. We’ve seen a significant increase in businesses wanting the Nextiva App, our mobile app that puts your business phone on any device, as part of their communications solution.
Not only has the modern work environment changed, but the technology people use outside of the office is heavily influencing the technology they want to use at work. We live in a hyper-connected world that is focused on convenience, and businesses are demanding communications and collaboration solutions that allow them to increase their employees’ productivity, no matter where they are located or choose to work from that day.
Q: As CIO, describe the challenges associated with evolving to address the needs of the modern workplace?
Josh: Taking the security of information into account when dealing with technology and cloud communications is something we must always be mindful of. We put a major emphasis on ensuring our network and infrastructure is as secure as possible. The businesses we serve trust us with their communications needs, and we don’t take that lightly.
This may be more of an opportunity than a challenge, but being aware of what’s going on in the telecommunications market and the technology industry is very important. As we develop new products and further expand our infrastructure, we are always looking ahead to what’s next in cloud communications and customer wants/needs, which can be challenging at times since technology is rapidly evolving. In this industry, you have to be willing to alter course and adopt new technology quickly, or you’ll be left behind.
Q: Please share your thoughts on the recent transition to UCS 5.3 on Nextiva’s platform? How will this enhancement help customers increase productivity within the workplace?
Josh: Back in June, Nextiva transitioned all Polycom VVX phones on our network to UCS 5.3, and it was a seamless implementation. We were the first service provider worldwide to adopt and roll out UCS 5.3 to our entire customer base. We didn’t experience any issues when testing the devices pre-roll out or need to make any network changes.
We use Polycom VVX phones internally, and our team was very excited about the new software launch—especially the new Acoustic Fence feature. We like to have fun in our office, and it can get a bit loud at times, but with the Acoustic Fence we never have to worry about our customers hearing any background noise when they talk to our team.
Our customers have also been very excited about the Acoustic Fence feature. The majority of workplaces were not designed with audio quality and acoustics in mind, and this causes noise issues when a lot of people are on the phone at one time. UCS 5.3 solves this issue for the businesses we serve, and many have commented how the implementation of the new software has improved the customer experience and company image thanks to improved audio quality. The elimination of background noise has also increased employee productivity and they’re able to assist customers faster.
Q: Nextiva recently completely upgraded its corporate headquarters with new Polycom VVX voice solutions; please share your thoughts on the integration and how the new solutions will help the various departments/business functions within your organization?
Josh: As I mentioned, we upgraded all of our Polycom VVX phones at our headquarters to UCS 5.3 and it has significantly improved our interactions with customers. The Acoustic Fence feature is a favorite of our Sales, Account Management and Support teams. We are dedicated to providing the businesses we serve with a level of customer service that we call Amazing Service®, and UCS 5.3 provides us with another tool to achieve this.
Prior to adopting Polycom VVX model phones in the office, we had no consistency or process for the phones that we used, which made it challenging for updates and troubleshooting. Once we made the switch, it has been much easier for our internal support team and given our team features that weren’t available on the other devices they were previously using.
Also, Nextiva’s in-house video production team created the below video to highlight Polycom’s new Acoustic Fence feature. Our employees and customers have really enjoyed it! Watch it here
In summary, IT leaders face a staggering list of priorities and business objectives. They are working with their cross functional counterparts to deliver secure mobile technology and promote connectivity from all environments, redesign office space, maintain employee engagement, and drive productivity for a more dispersed workforce. None of which is possible without business-process centric approaches and innovative partnerships. Polycom’s vision and strategy coupled with important partnerships with companies like Nextiva enable and empower the workplace of the future.
NEW Whitepaper! Why the desktop phone isn't going away
With only a few months left in 2015, it's time to mark your calendar for TEAM Polycom, the collaboration industry event of the year. Polycom’s eighth annual global sales and partner event—TEAM Polycom 2016—will take place January 12-14 at the spectacular Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in the country music capital of the world, Nashville, Tennessee.
The annual event brings together Polycom’s leadership team, global sales force, partners, industry trailblazers and special guests. Attendees will receive dynamic training, insight on Polycom's vision and strategy as well as exclusive updates about Polycom's innovation roadmap.
TEAM Polycom 2015 attendees got a sneak peek of Skype for Business through the first-ever public demonstration of the solution so one can only imagine what’s in store for TEAM Polycom 2016!
So mark your calendar, TEAM Polycom 2016 will be here before we know it.
Click here to check out the website and contact your Polycom representative for more details.
@PolycomEurope will open its doors once again on Twitter. The next #PolycomChat session will take place on 11 August at 12:00-13:00 BST, where we will be discussing the technology that instigates collaboration in workplaces and its place in the office of the future.
Why should you join us for #PolycomChat?
If you are interested in how companies, both large and small, can future-proof their business processes through collaboration solutions, then the next #PolycomChat is for you.
The open forum welcomes all discussions on how IT can increase their business potential, drive innovation and optimise budgets. IT is the business hero that can help shape and ultimately make the future workplace a reality today.
Who are our panel?
Industry experts Ray McGroarty, Global Director for Enterprise UC Solutions at Polycom, and Matthew Ball, Principal Analyst at Canalys, are our panellists for this session. Both our experts will provide differing insights on how to get the best from your collaboration solutions.
Here is how you can join the discussion and also invite others who wish to participate.
Date: Tuesday 11 August
Time: 12:00 – 13:00 BST
Event page: http://www.polycom.co.uk/go/TwitterChat-IT
How you or your contacts can join the event or ask questions is explained below:
The launch of Polycom® VVX™ 101 and 201 – the newest entry level Business Media Phones are now available. Building on Polycom’s market leading voice and desktop solutions, these new entries level VVX solutions are ideal for home office or shared/common areas and deliver a wide variety of benefits to your customers including enterprise grade sound quality and acoustic fence just to name a few.
The VVX 101 and 201 integrate seamlessly into a wide range of unified communications environments and introduces the lowest price point yet to the industry’s leading business media phone product portfolio.
These new VVX Business Media Phones will be available to order now..
Register today to this upcoming session and learn about:
Christine Kovacs, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Polycom
Polycom and Microsoft have a track record spanning more than a decade. Together we build innovative solutions that support large enterprises as well as small to medium businesses (SMB). This partnership provides several unique opportunities for Polycom’s channel community to:
We sat down with Randy Riebe, Director of Business Development at Polycom to discuss the untapped opportunity for the channel:
Q: Describe how the Polycom + Microsoft relationship benefits Polycom’s channel:
Randy: Polycom and Microsoft deliver high quality, comprehensive communication experiences for companies looking for a rich communications solution by offering a breadth of natively integrated voice and meeting devices, supported by deep expertise and global reach. Only Polycom offers a comprehensive portfolio of integrated solutions spanning voice, video, telepresence and services, all certified for Skype for Business. The Polycom RealConnect solution is just one example; it is the ultimate door opener within an account because this solution provides:
Q: How do we stack up against the competition? What accounts are the best candidates for our joint solutions?
Randy: Global corporations across virtually every industry and vertical from manufacturing, banking and financial services, retail, the auto industry and more are perfect candidates. For example, progressive solution providers can take a leadership position within the public sector from local municipalities to large administrative offices within the government. There are also lucrative opportunities within large national hospitals to regional clinics. Public policy is shifting in favor of investing in technology to improve workflows within these types of accounts.
Q: What are the implications for partners if they drive Skype for Business adoption and usage with Polycom voice and video devices?
Randy: The numbers tell the true story, according to IDC the Unified communications and Collaboration market is about twenty seven billion dollars. Today there are ten thousand Skype for Business/Lync server domains, ninety percent of Fortune 500 companies use Skype for Business/Lync and sixty percent of enterprises are deploying or planning to deploy. The opportunity for the channel is massive.
Q:Describe the opportunities with regards to service engagements?
Randy:The revenue opportunity with servicing ten thousand Skype for Business/Lync server domains is vast. Consider the myriad of opportunities within the sixty percent of enterprise accounts that are deploying or planning to deploy Skype for Business/Lync. There is an inherent need for design, implementation, network monitoring and other advanced services. Providing a worry-free experience via services provides incremental revenue both in the short and longer term. These services provide a clearer and more predictable path to technology upgrades and more for solution providers.
Q:What does our native integration mean for the channel? How will their customers or prospects benefit?
Randy: Polycom provides direct integration versus a gateway approach which reduces implementation issues, network overhead is not required and there are absolutely no additional hardware costs which are all common pain points for customers. More often than not these concerns can derail a deal, but due to our long standing partnership and joint development these issues are completely eliminated. Polycom is the only solution provider of voice, video, platform and content solutions that directly integrate into Microsoft applications.
Q: Some partners aren’t leveraging their Microsoft certifications or our joint solutions within their base of customers, are they leaving money on the table?
Randy: Absolutely, partners that invested but aren’t leveraging their Microsoft certifications or our joint solutions within their base of customers are leaving money on the table and making it easier for their competition to flip these accounts.
Partners should stop by Polycom’s booth #1501 to meet with my team. We’re offering four sessions next week at WPC targeted at non-Polycom partners that want to dive deeper on the opportunity on this topic:
Monday, 7/13 at 1:00 – 2:00 PM in meeting room #23 South Exhibit Hall B
Tuesday, 7/14 at 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM in meeting room #23 South Exhibit Hall B
Tuesday, 7/14 at 1:00 – 2:00 PM in meeting room #23 South Exhibit Hall B
Wednesday, 7/15 at 1:00 – 2:00 PM in meeting room #23 South Exhibit Hall B
WPC attendees can click here to register for one of these sessions
We recently produced a great series of webinars on this topic, I highly recommend viewing them and then discussing next steps with a Polycom channel account manager.
McKinsey & Co. conducted a study of 366 public companies in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Brazil, Mexico and Chile that found a statistically significant relationship between companies with women and minorities in their upper ranks and better financial performance as measured by earnings before interest and tax (EBIT). Is this good news for women in technology? Will the workplace of the future be more diverse?
We recently caught up with National Channel Manager Monique Rezaei to close our special series on trailblazers in the IT channel and the tech industry as a whole.
Monique has worked in IT for over ten years and is optimistic about women in tech. She is responsible for one of Polycom's largest platinum partners in the U.S. and successfully grew revenue more than 20 percent year over year, two years in a row.
Who inspires you?
Monique: Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, and possibly one of the most well-known and regarded leaders in tech. She’s an incredible leader, activist and author. Time magazine listed her as one of the most influential people in the world. I enjoyed reading her book “Lean In,” which is about helping women achieve their career goals.
Please provide professional advice to women currently working in or aspiring to work in technology.
Monique: Believe in yourself and be confident in all that you do. Always conduct yourself with class and integrity. Be passionate about your work and set focused, specific goals to manage your personal success. Never be afraid to speak up when you have a great idea. Ask good questions!
Find a mentor that you respect and admire and leverage their knowledge and advice to grow professionally. Take on jobs or responsibilities that you're comfortable with so you can learn. The more well-rounded you are in your field, the more effective you will be at work.
Source: Lublin, Joann, (January 2015) Not the Same Tired Story About Women on Boards, Wall Street Journal
Special Guest Blog by Mayur Pitamber, Voice Tech Experter, Solutions Product Marketing Manager at Polycom
So the time has finally come to seriously start thinking about replacing those analogue lines with SIP trunks/IP circuits. This is fast becoming a reality as we see some of the largest phone networks in the US and Western Europe planning to turn off their analogue services from 2018.
With the phone networks switching off their analogue/PSTN service in a little less than three years, many analogue PBX vendors have also followed suit and announced end-of-life for their PBX systems.
What does this means from a telephony/conference phone perspective? There are some IT managers that are still uncertain of moving to an IP-PBX. On the other hand, many proactive IT managers want to ensure the least disruption for their telephony/conference phone users as they replace their analogue PBX with an IP PBX, and are also aware of the significant IT benefits that can be realised such as:
Working with our customers and partners, we are seeing the following scenarios happening:
Contact your Polycom Channel Manager for information about Analogue2IP initiative set to launch in Europe this summer. This interactive campaign is perfect for customers looking to transition to IP.
Holly Downs was recognized by CRN magazine as a 2015 Women of the Channel honoree. She is responsible for all channel marketing activities for Polycom’s Internet Telephony Service Providers (ITSP). This group as a whole realized double digit year over year growth. Working with sales, Holly led programs to grow accounts and form stronger relationships with ITSPs. We recently caught up with Holly to get her take on channel mavens in the IT channel and the tech industry as a whole.
The number of women in leadership roles in the IT channel has increased over the years, but most would agree, we have a long way to go. Could you share a resource, organization, book or tool that you have found useful and would recommend to women interested in getting into the tech industry?
Holly: Thinking outside the box and on your feet is imperative in today’s business. I recommend a book called How Would You Move Mount Fuji? by William Poundstone. This is an insightful book with questions that have traditionally been asked during the interview process at Microsoft, testing how well a candidate can creatively work through a question. It’s not always getting to the right answer that counts (and sometimes, there is no right answer) but rather how you got there.
Who inspires you?
Holly: Juliana Rotich, Executive Director of Ushahidi Inc. Originally from Kenya, Ms. Rotich developed web tools for crowdsourcing crisis information. This technology has been used in Chile, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan, Tanzania and Haiti. Ushadhidi builds tools for democratizing information, increasing transparency and lowering the barriers for individuals to share their stories.
Could you share some professional advice to women currently working in or aspiring to work in technology?
Holly: Be resourceful. Listen to those who came before you, seek the advice of your peers and managers, and don’t ever be afraid to ask, “Why are we doing it this way?”
Image Source: Anita Borg Institute, Why Women Leave, Infographic
In case you haven’t noticed it yet, you should read Peter Caperonis’ blog from Masergy. and second blog (part 2). They are providing fantastic summaries and a good introduction to desktop VoIP phones and SIP integration in general. Peter is an expert in VoIP, cloud services, and telecommunications and has been blogging about interesting topics and generally covers UC and IP Communication related topics. Check out his latest blog he has written after our interview.
Peggy Crespin leads an outstanding channel and business development team. With her team, Peggy helped grow revenue with key Polycom channel partners in her region by 14 percent year over year. She helped increased both sales and technical competency within Polycom’s partner community, and accelerated pipeline growth with marketing initiatives, demand generation programs, and strategic account planning. Peggy’s efforts paid off as she successfully improved alignment between Polycom’s channel partners and sales organization in 2014. She was recognized by CRN magazine as a 2015 Women of the Channel honoree. We recently caught up with Peggy to get her take on channel mavens in the IT channel and the wider tech industry.
Who inspires you?
Peggy: I admire Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. Sheryl continues to find ways to evolve her company to meet customers’ ever changing needs, she’s not afraid of controversy, she takes risks, and she hates the word “bossy”.
What is your “go to” professional development resource, that you would recommend to women in tech.
Peggy: I love the Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff series by Richard Carlson, and especially Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… At Work, it’s a light read that really puts things into perspective when it comes to dealing with stressful situations at work.
What advice can you share with other women in the IT channel/technology industry?
Build your brand! If you are new to technology, build your brand early. If you have been in technology for a while, continue to build and refresh your brand based on the experiences you accumulate. Find a mentor – someone who believes in you and can guide you through the challenges and help celebrate your success. Stay true to yourself, trust your gut instincts, and remember that integrity in business is key.
Image Source: O'Brien, E. ( June 2015)Sheryl Sandberg and Anna Maria Chávez on 'Bossy,' the Other B-word, Wall Street Journal
According to IDC research, “resale revenue is declining, with 36.4% of solution provider revenue coming from the resale of software and/or hardware in 2012 versus 53% just 10 years ago. IT services may provide a mechanism for solution providers to earn a higher gross margin.”This week Polycom announced three new solutions at InfoComm and recently launched a new Cloud Video Operator Specialization for Polycom channel partners. Customers are increasingly looking to consume video as a service which brings both challenges and opportunities for partners accustomed to traditional sales models.
These announcements and channel development resources demonstrate Polycom’s leadership and commitment to helping partners evolve their business models from pure hardware to a diversified mix that includes hardware, software and advanced services. Polycom reseller partners that evolve now will have a powerful competitive advantage if they incorporate cloud models.
“The cloud is about building annuity revenue streams for our partners; with Polycom they have the flexibility to decide how they want to deliver hosted UC or video services to their customers, whether as a private, hybrid or public cloud offer. Each partner has different goals and strategies in this evolution. Polycom provides the tools and programs for partners interested in evolving their business” said Gary Testa, Polycom global vice president, Cloud and Service Providers.
Market dynamics suggest the cloud IS the next frontier for solution providers. IDC suggests “the very nature of cloud also makes it easy for solution providers to serve customers in a wider range of geographies than ever before. Previously, serving customers in a new market meant at the very least collaborating with a local company to support the sales and deployment effort or investing in opening a local office with the hope that everything will work out. In the cloud economy solutions can be implemented remotely, with limited local touch.”
Visit Polycom atBooth #2559 at Infocomm 2015 to see a live demo of the RealPresence Cloud and the newest additions to Polycom’s innovative portfolio.
Carr. M, (April 2015) Building a Cloud Practice: Reselling Cloud Solutions, IDC Market Spotlight
Helen Grimmett was recognized by CRN magazine as a 2015 Women of the Channel honoree. Since joining Polycom’s global channel strategy team, Helen served as a key contributor to Polycom’s new Global Partner Program in North America. She is also responsible for competency driven certifications and specializations, a core component of the new partner program. Helen is currently working with cross functional teams to develop practice specializations, which will recognize a partner's expertise and knowledge in adjacent markets, industries and technologies. We recently sat down with Helen to get her take on women in the IT channel and the tech industry.
What advice can you share with other women in the IT channel/technology industry?
Helen: Find a mentor whom you admire, they will be eager to share their knowledge and support. It will also flag that you aspire to bigger and better things. Consciously recognize what you want to achieve in life by being aware of the goals you want to achieve, whether in work or personally. You will recognize the opportunities around you which will help you get there.
Creating a vision board helps you focus, and helps uncover those dreams you’ve ignored. Just because they may be difficult or uncomfortable to achieve doesn’t mean you can’t do it!
Also, don’t be afraid to be passionate! Passion drives you to take that extra step that will make the difference. And probably most important, learn how to embrace change. Be willing to adapt and take advantage of new opportunities. You never know what may be around the corner!
Who inspires you?
Helen: I’m a big fan of Dr. Sam Collins of the Aspire Foundation. Sam is a down to earth leadership expert, who is an inspirational motivator for women. She focuses on helping women see their potential. She provides support and guidance on how to realize that potential.
Please suggest a resource, organization, book or tool that you would recommend to women.
Helen: “Radio Heaven”– is Dr. Sam Collins’ inspiring story of how she picked herself up from rock bottom to starting up the Aspire Foundation. The book is her story but it is also provides great nuggets of advice. Some of my favorites from the book are weeding out negative thoughts to creating a vision board.
Read some of Helen’s Blogs:
Image Source: Kasperkevic, J. (June 2015) These Charts About Women In Leadership Prove How Far The U.S. Is Behind The Rest Of The World, Business Insider
InfoComm is largest professional AV trade show in North America. The annual tradeshow and conference features the latest technologies for audio, video, display, projection, lighting and staging, digital signage, conferencing, digital content creation, networking, signal distribution and much more. Market demand is driving a few trends that will be top of mind for integrators and resellers attending InfoComm 2015:
Polycom is set to showcase solutions that have addressed long standing customer business communication and collaboration needs. InfoComm
attendees can also expect to see Polycom’s EagleEye Producer which accurately frames participants and supports engaging and collaborative meetings. Polycom’s Acoustic Fence will be featured in Polycom’s booth, this game changer a block background noise during conference calls and is in high demand now more than ever.
InfoComm attendees will also have opportunities to learn more about Polycom’s customized audio solutions that enhance collaborative group experiences with Polycom installed audio systems and robust analytics driving adoption with Polycom’s RealAccess Service Delivery Platform. Here are more details about Polycom’s solutions at InfoComm2015 Polycom’s industry experts will lead the following informative sessions designed for integrators looking to expand their expertise:
June 17, 2015 12:30 PM – 2 PM
(IS19) UCC Environment Design, Jim Smith, Partner Consulting Engineer
June 18, 2015 1:00 PM– 2:30 PM
(MT32) Polycom Integrator Conferencing Solutions Jim Smith, Partner Consulting Engineer
June 19, 2015 10:30 AM -12:00 PM
(MT47) In-Depth Technical Training on Polycom Group Series Codecs Tony Harvey, Collaboration Architect
Visit Polycom Booth #2559 at Infocomm 2015
According to a recent report from the National Center for Women & Information Technology, women make up about 30 percent of the technology industry’s workforce. Market insights suggest that a diverse workforce can deliver positive outcomes for a company’s bottom line and as a result several companies are working to increase that number of women in tech.
Join the conversation by tweeting, posting, and sharing your tips and resources at #WIT .
Want to suggest a resource that would be useful for a future of existing tech maven? Please email us your suggestions, websites, photos, events or articles to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CompTIA: Women in IT- The Numbers
Polycom is pleased to announce that the latest UC Software 184.108.40.20674 release has passed Microsoft qualification testing on Polycom VVX phones (Microsoft Technet link) delivering important features like:
• Calendar view and "join call" pop-up reminder
• Native Lync conference control (CCCP)
• Audio Media path over Better Together over Ethernet (BToE)
• Music on Hold
• Enhancements to Boss/Admin (Shared Line Appearance)
• Visual Voicemail
• Exchange Call Logs
• Acoustic Fence
• Exchange Autodiscover
• Outlook Contact Integration
… and more
Technet lists VVX phones' Microsoft version support as Skype for Business, Lync 2013, and Lync 2010
To learn more about these features, please read these 2 recent blog posts on Polycom’s “The View”:
• New UCS 5.3 Lync Features on VVX Phones Generates Some Excitement
• Webinar: Six Steps to Voice-Enable Skype for Business
To download the latest 5.3.0.x UC software, release notes, and documentation updates, please go to support.polycom.com (Polycom® UC Software for Microsoft Lync Deployments page).
If you or your customers are attending Infocomm 2015 in June (Polycom booth 2559) or if you are attending Microsoft World Partner Conference in July, be sure to stop by the Polycom booth to see the new features in action. Both events are in Orlando.
Polycom’s Barb Huelskamp, Lana King, Peggy Crespin, Helen Grimmet, Holly Downs and Monique Rezaei are among CRN’s 2015 Women of the Channel honorees! The annual list honors outstanding female executives across vendor channel organizations, distributors, solution providers and other women prominently involved in the IT channel ecosystem. The honorees are recognized for their successes and far-reaching impact they are having on the technology industry at large.
Here are highlights of their accomplishments:
BARB HUELSKAMP, VICE PRESIDENT OF AMERICAS CHANNEL SALES
Barb and her team led a significant re-organization and instituted a new channel coverage model in 2014. This shift in strategy required a fresh look at growing Polycom’s channel community in the Americas. Barb garnered support quickly and grew the partner target base by 17 percent through coaching, development sessions and mentoring initiatives. Barb also promoted four team members and ended the year with zero attrition across her entire team. With the new model and year over year growth, several channel partners transitioned to higher tiers within Polycom’s partner program. Barb is also featured in CRN’s Power 100!
LANA KING, SENIOR DIRECTOR, GLOBAL CHANNEL STRATEGY AND PROGRAMS
Throughout 2014 Lana helped advance Polycom’s partner program and overall channel optimization efforts. Under her leadership, Polycom’s partner program was recognized by CRN for the fifth consecutive year. She also played an integral role in the evolution and launch of Polycom’s new Global Partner Program which is geared to support future growth for Polycom and its partner community.
PEGGY CRESPIN, DIRECTOR OF CHANNEL SALES, WEST AND CENTRAL
Peggy leads an outstanding team! Together, they grew revenue with key channel partners in her region by 14 percent year over year. She increased both sales and technical competency within Polycom’s partner community, accelerated pipeline growth with marketing initiatives, demand generation programs, and strategic account planning. Peggy’s efforts paid off as she successfully improved alignment between Polycom’s channel partners and sales organization in 2014.
HELEN GRIMMETT, DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL CHANNEL STRATEGY AND PROGRAMS
Since joining Polycom’s global channel strategy team, Helen has developed several important assets for Polycom’s channel partners. Helen served as a key contributor to Polycom’s new Global Partner Program in North America. She is also responsible for competency driven certifications and specializations, a core component of the new partner program. Helen is currently working with cross functional teams to develop practice specializations, which will recognize a partner's expertise and knowledge in adjacent markets, industries and technologies.
HOLLY DOWNS, SENIOR CHANNEL MARKETING MANAGER
Holly is responsible for all channel marketing activities for Polycom’s Internet Telephony Service Providers. This group as a whole realized double digit year over year growth. Working with sales, Holly led programs to grow accounts and form stronger relationships with Internet Telephony Service Providers partners.
MONIQUE REZAEI, NATIONAL CHANNEL ACCOUNT MANAGER
Monique manages one of Polycom's largest platinum partners in the U.S. and successfully grew revenue more than 20 percent year over year two years in a row. She successfully developed strategic partner programs and enablement initiatives that aligned with both Polycom and partner's overall market strategy.
We salute this year’s honorees for their individual contributions and overall support of Polycom’s business objectives and dynamic channel strategy. This year’s Women of the Channel were carefully reviewed and selected by the editors of CRN based on their accomplishments and the influence they wield over the technology channel.
“These executives have made a lasting mark on the industry, expanding the breadth of influence in the technology channel,” said Robert Faletra, CEO, The Channel Company. “We congratulate the Women of the Channel, and celebrate their innovative contributions and commitment to the IT channel community.”
Maximizing revenue from maintenance and support service renewals
At one of our recent webinars, we spoke about the fact that maintenance and support contracts make up 38% of technology companies’ total revenues, but how without effective management, this revenue will naturally erode over time.
As a Polycom partner, maximizing revenues from your maintenance and support service renewals can make a big difference to your top and bottom line - whereas failing to can result in missed opportunities and lost income. Polycom’s Channel Services team can help you with this by:
Broadening your services portfolio to meet evolving customer needs
The more sophisticated the services you offer, the better you will be at supporting improved customer outcomes. The Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) has identified four increasingly sophisticated service categories offered by the industry:
The more sophisticated the support you offer, the ‘stickier’ your customers will also be. TSIA says 46% of technology companies get higher satisfaction and 39% higher retention from customers on premium or platinum support plans (like Polycom Elite, Advantage and Partner Advantage).
Improving your internal processes to more proactively manage renewals
While most annual service revenue streams naturally erode each year, you can control much of this erosion by getting ahead of the renewal sales cycle, and managing your process so every renewal is closed prior to expiration.
To help drive on-time renewals:
How Polycom’s Channel Services team can help
The Channel Services team can help you drive your renewals business by increasing renewal rates, improving on-time renewal performance, and assisting you with incremental upsell opportunities.
To find out more, download our whitepaper ‘How to maximize revenue from maintenance and support service renewals’ today.
On May 15, Polycom and AVI-SPL (Reseller Partner of the Year 2014) teamed up to support Food Revolution a global initiative founded by Jamie Oliver, celebrity chef, restaurateur and media personality.
There were several live events to raise awareness and call on all G20 governments to put compulsory, practical food education back into the school curriculum. Jamie greeted the students at Northview Heights Secondary School over video and then Food Revolution Ambassadors took over. They taught over 1500 students at Northview Heights, the superintendent of Toronto School District and students at various high schools across Ontario how to make Oliver’s famous Squash It sandwiches.
Polycom’s video collaboration technology and AVI-SPL VNOC supported this great event.
Today’s Guest: Jon Davies
Meet Territory Account Manager Jon Davies. Based in Massachusetts, Jon recently welcomed his client to take part in our Virtual Experience program. Jon worked with Brian Amato to create a Virtual Briefing Agenda to detail and drive their meeting. They subsequently had a great event. We chatted with Jon to find out what made his experience a success.
VE: What made the Virtual Experience demonstration great for you?
JD: Brian really took the info I shared with him in our planning meeting and researched more about the customer. This helped him add nice touches during the briefing, such as having their website on the homepage of VCM.
VE: What was your favorite part?
JD: Brian really knows our products and how users want to use them. He knows how to deliver that info in a user-friendly manner with good humor and is just a natural relater. He was also able to draw upon his experience in education to bring relevant info into the exchange. He was extremely prepared and had an agenda ready to go based on our plans.
VE: What were your successes?
JD: The customer gained confidence that Polycom is the right partner to stay with.
VE: Anything else you like to share?
JD: Brian exemplifies what a top notch Briefer is!
Feel free to contact the members of the Virtual Experience team at email@example.com to ask about scheduling your Virtual Experience today.
Audrey Gertz, Briefing Administrator, Executive Experience Center Program
Polycom, Inc. | 6001 America Center Drive, San Jose, CA 95002 | T: (408) 586-3901
Polycom and AVI-SPL have teamed up to support Food Revolution, an exciting global program that brings awareness for practical food education for all children in schools across the world. This Friday, May 15th at 11 am- ET, Jamie Oliver, celebrity chef, restaurateur, and media personality will connect to Northview Heights Secondary School in North York, Ontario, Canada. Jamie will use Polycom’s video collaboration technology to teach 1500 + Northview Height students how to make a healthy lunch. AVI-SPL’s VNOC will launch and monitor the call.
This is one several live events in support of the Jamie Oliver Foundation’s Food Revolution Program. The Food Revolution Program is calling on all G20 governments to put food education back into school curriculum. More than 1,300 Food Revolution ambassadors in more than 120 countries have
scheduled events and we are excited to support this important cause!
Polycom video collaboration technology continues to be used for distance learning programs across the globe to broadcast live discussion in real-time. High definition video enables schools to provide borderless education where they can multiply impact, extend their reach and improve student’s access to knowledge and expertise.
Want to join in and help?
Enterprise customers around the globe are looking for ways to cut costs and at the same time their mobile
and highly skilled workforce demand sophisticated communication and collaboration solutions to get their jobs done. Successfully managing the needs of the modern workplace and at a cost that is attractive to an enterprise customer is a challenge. As a result several innovative companies are partnering to support the modern workplace.
GENBAND Perspectives15 brings together the brightest minds in the technology, service provider and enterprise communities. Perspectives15 is an annual forum for dissecting the latest trends and opportunities affecting the unified communications and collaboration landscape. It is set to take place May17-21, 2015 in Orlando, Florida.
Perspective 15 attendees will hear from top influencers in the c-suite and market-leading technology companies who are changing the way we work, play and live. Perspectives15 will also feature an interactive Solutions Showcase, highlighting the latest innovations from Polycom as well as other sponsors and partners.
Gary Testa, Polycom’s Vice President of Service Provider Solutions will participate in the Business Services and UC, a main stage panel discussion at Perspectives 15. The panel will take a deep dive on trends and market factors dominating business services both from a service provider and enterprise (buyer) point of view. The panel will also unearth the impediments to Cloud-based services in tandem with the needs of a more mobile workforce. They will also discuss whether Service Providers are ready to compete with traditional PBX providers as well as other barriers to entry and more!
If you're in Orlando for Gendband Perpectives 15, visit Polycom in the Solutions Showcase, Mediterranean Ballroom: Salon 5-6/ Booth# D.
Follow us @Polycom on Twitter and the search the hashtag # #GBP15.
Video: Everywhere, Experiences
According to Gartner, by 2017 25% of organizations will lose their market position due to "digital business incompetence,” and by 2020, 75% of businesses will be considered a digital business or will be preparing to become one. How does this impact employee recruitment and engagement? What do organizations need to do today to prepare for the workplace of the future? These predications and questions are top of mind in the C-Suite and will be the focus of the Gartner Digital Workplace Summit May 18-20 in Orlando, Florida.
HB Communications and Polycom have teamed up for this event and will showcase several solutions perfectly suited for the modern workplace. We sat down with Ted Thompson, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at HB Communication, to discuss workplace trends and the upcoming Gartner Digital Workplace Summit event.
Tell us about HB Communications and your role within the organization.
Ted: HB Communications delivers unified audio visual experiences that enhance the way customers communicate and conduct business. With more than $120 Million in 2014 sales and more than 400 employees, HB is one the largest AV Integrators in the United States and a well-regarded leader in providing innovative solutions for collaboration. Our specializations span audio visual, video collaboration, unified communications, digital media and broadcast solutions, global managed services, and live event services. HB supports its customers across the U.S. and in over 30 countries worldwide. As the CTO of HB Communications, I am responsible for presales and systems engineering for HB’s video collaboration and unified communications business. I meet with HB customers on a regular basis to discuss strategy, workflow, technology, solution design and how HB can help.
The role of technology in the modern workplace is evolving, what is the impact to your customers?
Ted: When I meet with customers we usually start out by discussing business drivers, how they work today and who can benefit from collaboration technology within their organization. That discussion eventually shifts to platform, existing investment, technology and ultimately the measure of success. Many times our customer is the IT department and it’s their job to invest in the right technology and solutions. This is why it’s so important to focus on business drivers at the onset. In order to be successful, technology in the modern workplace needs to be easy to use, transparent and workflow oriented in order to address total business needs.
How is HB Communications evolving to address the needs of the modern workplace? Can you share some examples?
Ted: HB is building more expertise and core competencies around Microsoft Skype for Business. Many of our enterprise customers are using or planning to implement Skype for Business. This is precisely where workflow comes into play. As our customers evolve around Microsoft workflows, HB is well suited with Polycom to provide solutions that fit that need. Polycom® RealConnect™ and Polycom® CX5100 are great examples of solutions designed to maintain Microsoft workflow.
How will HB Communications and Polycom’s partnership address this shift in the workplace?
Ted: The workplace is evolving around business leaders, knowledge workers and their teams. They work in new office workspaces, at home, on the road, with customers, patients, partners, manufacturers and more. Collaboration tools are available regardless of workspace or device and the experience is essential for meaningful communications. Using these tools needs to be simple—to the point that technology becomes transparent and communicating over video becomes second nature.
Polycom creates solutions focused on experience, simplicity and ease of use with deep integration into UC platforms like Skype for Business. HB has the best customers in the world and it’s our job to make them aware of these solutions, show them how they can take advantage and implement with simplicity and experience in mind. We need to help customers drive adoption in order to help them achieve their ultimate goals, whether it’s in business, healthcare, education or government applications.
Can you provide some examples of HB Communications and Polycom working together to reduce productivity impediments in the workplace and improve experiences for knowledge workers (i.e. customers)?
Ted: No two customers are the same and everyone is at different points in their journey. We talk about this in terms of a collaboration maturity model. Are they a video-first company, or moving toward that model? Are there standards that help drive greater adoption? Is Microsoft Skype for Business in their roadmap? How are they enabling their mobile workforce and knowledge workers? Who are the champions for better collaboration within their organization? This is where Polycom excels, and together with HB, we can impact the way organizations communicate and collaborate.
Two great customer examples include a CSO at a global reinsurance company and a Dean of Classroom technology at one of the largest hospital systems in the U.S. who both believe collaboration is essential to each organization. Both customers are going through large acquisitions where HB and Polycom solutions are playing a key role to bring new colleagues, business leaders, doctors, teachers and medical staff together.
Gartner Digital Workplace Summit 2015 will take place May 17-19; could you give us a snapshot of what you’ll be demonstrating at the event? What can attendees expect to see?
Ted: At Garter Digital Workplace Summit we’ll be demonstrating solutions that focus on Microsoft Skype for Business workflows, streaming media and video content on demand in the HB Communications Learning Lab. We will also demonstrate:
What are your expectations/ predictions for the show? What do you think is top of mind for attendees?
Ted: Attendees will be looking for:
Microsoft rolled out Skype for Business in April while customers were still in the midst of Lync 2013 deployments. I think attendees will be interested in making sure they’re investing in technology that works seamlessly with these solutions. I’m focused on measuring the success and ROI on these deployments to help justify the expense. We’re challenged as integrators and manufacturers to help customers in this regard.
Ted Thompson, Chief Technology Officer - HB Communications Inc
Ted has been with HB since 2001 and has more than 20 years of experience managing information technology at the enterprise level. Before coming to HB, Ted was Director of IT for CNET Networks and Ziff Davis Publishing (eWeek, PC Magazine, ZDNet) in Cambridge, MA. In addition to go-to-market and IT strategy at HB, Ted manages pre-sales and systems engineering teams for video collaboration and unified communications.
If you're in Orlando for Gartner Digital Workplace Summit, visit the HB Communications Learning Lab.
Follow us @hbcomm or @Polycom on Twitter and the search the hashtag ##GartnerDWS.
Video: Everywhere, Experiences
Converging shifts in technology, demographics, culture and physical workspaces has changed the way businesses engage with and buy from channel partners. Customers are now demanding more from channel partners. Joao Santos, Channel Account Manager at Polycom, a six-year collaboration industry veteran has seen the evolution first hand. Joao is focussed on helping partners navigate today's competitive environment.
Get to know Joao, both his passion for the channel and his unique perspective on how it is similar to running, his other passion. Joao shares his take on working with solution providers as well as his experience running his sixth Boston Marathon.
What is your current position with Polycom?
Joao: I joined Polycom in August 2014 and it’s been great. Everyone is motivated and I love our fast paced, almost frenetic environment. I am a channel account manager in New England and I’m responsible for managing small to mid-sized partners. I’ve been in the industry for six years.
What is the recipe for success for the partners you work with in today’s challenging environment?
Joao: and all comes down to the long term goal. Once it is determined, the next step is to design a plan and take the incremental steps required to achieve that long term goal.
The collaboration industry is evolving to accommodate the work place of the future. What can partners do to succeed?
Joao: Just like training for a marathon, it’s all about consistency. For example, from nutrition to running in bad weather, if you set out to run a marathon you have to stick with it. It’s the small wins that contribute to overall success for small to mid-size partners. We’re doing everything we can at Polycom to work alongside them to help them execute their business plan. But consistency is the key to helping their customers and growing over time. Success will happen, but it will occur over time.
Good point, a good example of this is Polycom's recently launched Global Partner Program. It is designed to help channel partners build and or expand technical competencies in their defined industry. The program encourages partners to invest in training and continued development to achieve success today and into the future.
Shifting gears, you ran the Boston Marathon recently, tell us about that. Why Boston?
Joao: This was my sixth Boston Marathon and it was an amazing experience. To be clear, I’m not a qualified runner. I ran and raised money for Boston Children’s Hospital, one of the top pediatric hospitals in the country. This hospital is near and dear to my heart. Several years ago my wife and I had twins; one was born with a congenital heart defect. For six months a team of doctors and nurses at Boston Children’s Hospital took care of her but she eventually passed. My wife and I wanted to do something special to honor her and help the hospital so we decided to run the Boston Marathon. People think a running a marathon is hard, but trust me it is easy in comparison to what we went through.
Tell us more, why is the Boston Marathon so special?
Joao: This race is special to me because of what my family went through and our charity work with Boston Children’s Hospital. I’m also a New Englander and I’m moved by the spirit and history associated with the race. It’s been two years since the Boston Marathon bombings and the race means even more now. I completed the Boston Marathon in 2013, the year the bombings occurred. I finished a few minutes before the first bomb exploded. I was only a few blocks away from where it happened. I thought it was a random accident in the subway but by the time the second bomb went off it was chaos. Two years later, the race means more to everyone; if anything it motivated the city and the country to stand together.
That’s the bigger lesson, when you set out to do something important—something that’s important for everyone around you—you’ll be motivated. You’ll keep doing what you need to do to achieve that goal and if you ever decide to stop, it’s typically for a bigger or more important reason. This is true for running, and it’s also true for channel partners competing in today's competitive environment and for every aspect in our lives.
Photograph: Joao Santos, Boston Marathon 2015
On May 12, 2015 at 08:00 AM PST we will have an exciting webinar where Polycom Experts will provide an overview of how to Grow Your Hosted Voice Opportunity in Vertical Markets.
This upcoming session will cover: