Beth Schultz
Beth Schultz is editor of No Jitter and program co-chair for Enterprise Connect. Beth has more than two decades of...
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Beth Schultz | July 20, 2016 |


'All Is Good' at Unify

'All Is Good' at Unify We caught up with CEO Jon Pritchard for a quick status report on the company's life after acquisition, plans for Circuit, OpenScape, and more.

We caught up with CEO Jon Pritchard for a quick status report on the company's life after acquisition, plans for Circuit, OpenScape, and more.

Six months since the Atos acquisition closed and five months into his leadership role at Unify, CEO Jon Pritchard wants everyone to know that "all is good."

Most of the heavy-lifting required in transitioning Unify from a stand-alone company to an Atos business is complete, and the Unify team is rarin' to go, Pritchard told me in a recent interview. "We've reenergized the business and are getting back to doing what we do."

Jon Pritchard, CEO, Unify

No, this doesn't mean the same old same old at Unify.

Rather, Unify is bringing Atos' services, tools, and reporting expertise to bear when engaging with existing and potential customers. Likewise, Atos is bringing in Unify products when working on enterprise engagements in need of communications and collaboration solutions. That's a foot in the door at many companies that otherwise would not have tapped Unify as a potential, Pritchard acknowledged.

On Track With Circuit
In working with Atos on customer engagements, Unify has discovered that its current products are "pretty fit for purpose," Pritchard said. In other words, Atos doesn't need to turn to competitive products any longer to address enterprise needs around communications and collaboration.

As one case in point, late last month Unify received word from a global Atos customer that it will be rolling out the company's Circuit team collaboration tool to 350,000 users, Pritchard said. With the ink barely dry on that contract when we talked in late June, Pritchard said he couldn't reveal the customer name or additional details, but noted that the rollout is taking place over the summer.

Atos itself plans a large-scale deployment too, and so by year's end Unify expects to have nearly a half million users on Circuit -- "significantly ahead of competition in terms of paid users," he speculated.

Unify is approaching its Circuit opportunity in three ways. First is via its direct reach-out to enterprises. Second is through the channel, with partners able to sell Circuit in a cloud-based consumption model. And third is through global service providers, which can stand Circuit up in their data centers and offer a cloud-based solution much as they do with the Unify voice platform, he said.

Staying the Course
Unify doesn't feel the need to make any big course corrections to its product roadmaps, but some go-to-market adjustments are in order, Pritchard said. The cloud is one area in such need. "What we've done historically is everything has been a bespoke cloud offering for pretty much every customer. What we want to have is a repeatable solution that we can implement in different places but in the same model," Pritchard said. "A number of different pieces from Atos will help us put together a cloud proposition that is more rounded than it's been previously."

Toward that end, for example, Unify plans to allow partners to stand up OpenScape Business, a UC platform for small and medium-sized businesses, in their data centers for delivery of services via the cloud, he said.

Unify recognizes the need to revamp its traditional software licensing model and point product approach, Pritchard said. "We'll be moving away from a large number of different SKUs into suites of products priced on an enterprise licensing agreement basis, which our customers are used to because that's how they buy software from other vendors not in our space today. We're trying to make our licensing more market current, while at the same time making it easier for customers to understand how to consume our products."

Going forward, he added, expect to see Unify become "more and more of a product-driven business," with services packaged in via Atos as needed. Protecting the product, in fact, is one of the reasons Unify kept its own identify and runs autonomously, he said.

"Atos absolutely understands and recognizes the value in our products and our platforms, and so we still continue to invest heavily in R&D." Innovation is an imperative, and Unify also will place renewed investment in mainstays like its OpenScape Voice and OpenScape 4000 UC platforms, Pritchard said.

"It's no secret that the Unify business was for sale for a lot of years, but we're in a good place now," Pritchard concluded. "We've found a good home with Atos, and all signs point to a good future."

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