One of the biggest challenges for a vendor as large and successful as Polycom, is retaining a clear vision and strategy in an increasingly complex marketplace. New competitors, with new solutions are attempting to gain traction in EMEA, but we’ve got the goods to beat them.
For me, the big question isn’t, ‘how do we retain market share’, but ‘how do we extend our marketplace’?
By maximising our potential with our extensive collaboration solutions portfolio, we can extend our marketplace into new sectors, verticals and channels.
Travel savings are not a big enough sales pull, so we have to sell video based on other benefits. It’s about productivity gains, not cost savings. The biggest productivity gains are made in specific vertical applications of our solutions, where video is truly woven into the workflows. Customers such as Evelina Children’s Hospital London are gaining productivity to the tune of 1,300 hours of consultants’ and surgeons’ time each year by integrating video into paediatric cardiology surgical equipment. Time is money, but when you save time you make money, whether to reinvest into public services, or to turn into corporate profit.
We need to develop specific technologies for specific verticals, and ask customers what they need five years from now. Banks, for example, plan five years ahead, but no one is helping them map out the technology to enable that plan. People are being thrust into an end-user management role, and they need to tell the board what technology they need to grow the business, but they have no support. Although they do have huge budgets. We have a great opportunity to be bespoke to the industry need of the customer.
Making video more user friendly is key, and we have done this through the standardisation of our UI across room-based, desktop and mobile solutions. Our tight-knit integration with Microsoft means we can offer video as part of a familiar workflow, further simplifying the end-user experience. Easy-to-use as standard means adoption rates are not an issue, and ROI is achieved even faster.
We’re no longer out of reach for SMBs, our new solutions portfolio is designed with the mid-market in mind. We can use our channel partners to develop our video business into this mid-market. With the top tier market we can sell cloud and mobility. But if we analyse our partners’ markets versus ours, we can find opportunities. We have to look at each technology and each segment of the market and develop a strategy specific to that, and we might have to change it as we learn more. Look at Polycom® RealPresence Debut™; we are putting it through the IT distributors channel now, as a first entry into video, and going after medium sized companies with ten meeting rooms. By selling them through ITSPs, we reach a new market with an appropriate offering. Recruiting new and diverse channel partners is key to extending our market. We need resellers who target networking, servers etc. because video expands the need for network bandwidth, so they are keen to sell it.
It’s all about the proliferation of video, we are specifically designing our solutions to drive the sale of more video endpoints through expanding our portfolio and filling in the gaps. We’ve added innovation at the top end with Polycom® RealPresence Centro™ and built out the entry-level range with Polycom® RealPresence Trio™ and Polycom® RealPresence Debut™. We still get a lot of interest in our immersive rooms, but the demand now goes all the way down to plug-and-play options. By offering solutions at a lower price point, we’re developing an ‘upsell’ offering for our voice customers. RealPresence Trio looks like our traditional conferencing phones that transforms into a video and content sharing solution, and offers a way to move customers from pure voice into the collaboration space.
Video collaboration is also becoming much more about networking and infrastructure, and we have to sell IT backbones alongside this traditional business. What we really notice is that if a customer has decided on Microsoft for their networking, then they come straight to us for their voice and video. And they always choose Polycom® RealConnect™. They get the great quality platform, plus Office 365 integration and even legacy systems are catered for. With Skype for business you get a great experience from the end-user point of view, in terms of scheduling from Outlook etc. But our expertise with Polycom RealConnect is in the core of collaboration, plus the voice and video quality. It’s our USP to a certain point.
Selling services, not just solutions, is key to capitalising on all of the above. As a Service models aren’t just for SMBs, they are an attractive proposition for larger organisations that experience capacity peaks and troughs. When you apply our verticalised thinking to this scenario, you realise the selling opportunities. Look at retail; they have clear seasonal peaks when RealPresence Clariti and its Cloud Bursting functionality would offer a tangible benefit, by keeping business critical communications live, without requiring the customer to invest in capacity which goes unused most of the year.
We have a great opportunity with Polycom’s Services when speaking to customers. The reality of the collaboration space right now is that there is a huge migration from PBX to IP phones. I call it a digital migration. It’s happening right now because customers can immediately experience a clear cost benefit. Our Managed Services with a ‘pay per seat’ model have been instrumental in making our voice business such a success, so now we need to apply that same thinking to video. The message is: no capital investment to meet tight budgets.
The question is; is video an addition to voice? Or is it an addition to content, or instant messaging, or something else altogether? I believe it is all of the above. There’s no collaboration environment where we can’t sell in a video solution to complement an existing infrastructure.