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Archive for the ‘From: No Jitter’ Category

The 50% reduction in the workforce was a painful but necessary step as the company moves to an indirect sales model and transitions to the software/services world.

Last week, Unify CEO Dean Douglas shocked the industry by announcing the company would be reducing its workforce by almost 50%. The company will cut 3,800 jobs of its existing 7,700 headcount as it shifts its strategy to a channel-driven, software-first company. This is part of the ongoing transformation of the company formerly known as Siemens Enterprise Communications that went through a rebrand in October and at the same time announced Ansible, its upcoming flagship product.

While I wasn’t surprised they were cutting heads, I was surprised at the magnitude of the layoffs. Since then though, I’ve had some time to think about what was announced and I wanted to share my thoughts on Douglas’ bold move.

Polycom’s strategy has gone through several changes and needed more focus if it was to turn the corner and get back on a path of consistent growth and solid financial performance.

Tuesday June 3 was a significant date for Polycom for a couple of reasons. First, Polycom held its first industry analyst conference in about two years, meaning the company was finally able articulate a clear strategy to us industry watchers. Second, the day marked the six-month anniversary of Peter Leav’s tenure as CEO. I saw Leav present at the company’s channel event in February, but this was his first presentation to large number of industry analysts.

The company has certainly had its ups and downs over the past few years. Some felt Polycom would struggle to exist as a stand-alone organization in a market filled with vendors much larger than itself. I’ve even heard some question the long-term viability of the company as the video conferencing industry has come under fire recently with the market slowing down. Along with the ups and downs, the company strategy has also gone through several changes and needed more focus if Polycom was to turn the corner and get back on a path of consistent growth and solid financial performance.

The transition to Leav and subsequent shift in strategy was the primary reason the company had to delay the analyst event it had scheduled last year. The six-month mark provides an excellent opportunity to look at how the strategy has changed and measure whether the company is headed in the right direction–and I do believe Polycom has turned a corner.

InfoComm has become a staple show for the Audio Video Integrator (AVI).

Well it’s June and that means a number of things. The NHL playoffs are winding down, and I need to start thinking about an anniversary gift for my wife! More importantly though (just kidding), it’s InfoComm time. While Enterprise Connect is the premier business collaboration conference, InfoComm has become a staple show for the Audio Video Integrator (AVI).

The show has changed over the years as video has evolved from being a standalone application on a dedicated network. Now there’s a greater focus on networking, unified communications, voice and other things that have become core to the video business. I had a chance to discuss the trends in collaboration and the role of the AVI with Marc Brown, Polycom’s Group VP of Product Solutions and Market, and bounced around some ideas of what AVIs should be looking out for at this year’s conference. These include the following:

Newly-announced endpoints are designed to extend the “ease of use” for Cisco collaboration to the desktop and mobile endpoints.

The last time we heard from Cisco’s Collaboration Business Unit, GM and SVP Rowan Trollope was showing off a number of enhancements to the company’s room based portfolio at Enterprise Connect 2014. The updates to the MX line and even the SX10 Quick Set were designed for fast deployments in conference rooms. If you recall, Trollope talked at length about building systems that were easier to deploy and easier for workers to use, following up on the promise he had made at Cisco’s Collaboration Summit in 2013.

Enterprise Connect is now in the rear view mirror and it’s now nearing the end May, which means people with a life are planning for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. For those of us in tech though, it’s time for Cisco Live–the company’s user conference and a time to look at what’s new in the world of Cisco.

A big systems integrator makes a big bet on video-as-a-service. Will others now jump in?

It seems like over the past two decades we’ve been hit over the head almost every year with the proclamation that this is now “the year of video”. Then the year comes and goes and we’re no closer to having video becoming a mainstream collaboration tool than we were at the start of the year. In fact, I’ve heard many end users describe video as a “solution in search of a problem”.

Sure, we’ve had some M&A activity within the vendor world, a few startups pop up, and a tremendous amount of innovation with new products from the more traditional video vendors. Despite that though, it’s hard to say that video has finally hit that inflection point.

However, I looked at yesterday’s acquisition of Teliris by Dimension Data as a signal that this might actually be the year video goes mainstream. Why? Well, Dimension Data is one of the world’s largest systems integrators and, like most SIs, DiData tends to augment its portfolio based on what customers are asking for. Five years ago there were lots of cloud UC solutions available but the customer interest was low, so the SIs stayed out of the market. Today it’s hard to find an SI that doesn’t have a cloud business. Similarly, I expect to see more SIs and VARs look to build out cloud or managed video services now that one of the largest global SIs has jumped into the market.

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