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Archive for the ‘From: No Jitter’ Category

Sonus has shifted to more of an “on-demand” buying model, in which the customer can start with a small deployment and then increase session and port capacity with just a license key.

This morning Sonus unveiled a number of enhancements to its line of session border controllers (SBCs). Unlike most product announcements we see in tech, there were no shiny new products or even new features spearheading the announcement. Instead Sonus focused on making it easier for customers to purchase, deploy and maintain its current products.

The company released version 3.2 of the 1000 and 2000 series SBCs. This version of code helps customers bring in an SBC at a lower cost and then offers a level of investment protection, particularly in Lync environments, a fast growing part of the company’s business.

Instead of workers clamoring to bring their consumer technologies into work, might we start seeing a trend where workers want to take business technology home?

For years we’ve been hearing about trends like bring your own device (BYOD), the consumerization of the enterprise, mobile computing and other factors that continue to push more and more consumer devices into business environments. Why? Well frankly, it’s because corporate IT vendors build products that are hard to use and require a significant amount of “human integration.” Consumer devices are easy to use, period. So easy to use that my technologically illiterate father can use an iPad. Let’s see him use an old video endpoint.

I was recently reading this blog from Chris May, VP of Business Development from VOSS (VOSS the UC automation company, not the water distributor). In his blog he was discussing the concept of the “plug and play” enterprise. That is, products that can be dropped onto a users desk and they “just work” – kind of like consumer technologies.

In his blog, Chris stated that Cisco seems to have “changed their spots” when it comes to quality of design and the openness of the DX80. I agree with this statement, and I think the spot changing came with the arrival of GM and SVP, Rowan Trollope.

Cisco has been making a number of smaller acquisitions, obtaining Tail-f a few weeks ago and spending less than $100 million this morning to acquire Assemblage.

In Major League Baseball, some teams try and win by always going for the big home run. My beloved Red Sox are such a team, although they’re not hitting many this year so they find themselves in a position that the Cubs are normally in: Last place! Other teams, such as the St Louis Cardinals, win by playing “small ball.” A hit there, stolen base here, one run this inning, one the next, and all of a sudden all these small things become a win.

In tech, some vendors like to swing for the fences. For example, Oracle recently dropped $5.3 billion for Micros Systems to bolster its position in a few markets. Oracle took a huge swing and we’ll see if it works. Cisco, on the other hand, has been making a number of smaller acquisitions. A few weeks ago they acquired Tail-f to support their telecom strategy, and this morning the company spent less than $100 million to acquire Assemblage.

If you’re not familiar with Assemblage, the company is a small (8 people) organization based in San Francisco that provides the tools and infrastructure for browser-based collaboration. At this size, the purchase is as much about talent acquisition as it is about the product.

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.

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