Ira Weinstein
Ira M. Weinstein is the founder and managing partner at Recon Research, an independent research, advisory, and consulting firm focused...
Read Full Bio >>

Ira Weinstein | October 28, 2016 |


Polycom -- Today and Tomorrow

Polycom -- Today and Tomorrow Reflecting on where Polycom has been and where it's at now... and what's of greatest potential as it moves forward.

Reflecting on where Polycom has been and where it's at now... and what's of greatest potential as it moves forward.

I was pleased to attend Polycom's annual industry analyst event last week at the company's experience center in NYC. This was essentially the debut (not to be confused with the company's Debut video endpoint) of the new, privately held Polycom.

Over the past few years the name Polycom has been synonymous with one major theme -- change. Sometimes too much change -- resulting in channel or customer turmoil. Sometimes not enough change -- resulting in market share shifts or customer erosion. And in some cases, just enough change to keep Polycom sound -- both financially and technologically.

While attending this year's event, I couldn't help but think that perhaps the last few years have all been leading up to this point: a new CEO, a new capital structure, and a new set of priorities that hopefully will help the company move the needle.

While pondering over what I saw and heard, I closed in on the following three key areas that I thought were most interesting and offer the most potential for the company.

New CEO and New Ownership
While not quite a revolving door, Polycom has seen its share of CEOs come and go in the last decade. And not surprisingly, each new senior executive brought a different set of priorities and strengths. New CEO Mary McDowell, however, brings a combination of technical expertise and business prowess that Polycom has not seen in quite a long time (if ever).

Mary McDowell, CEO

Polycom has always been a technology-driven firm, which in some ways has been the company's secret sauce, and in others the bane of its existence. As the conferencing industry has shifted from techno-focused to business-oriented, Polycom's ongoing product-centric approach has, at times, left it without a seat at the negotiation table. McDowell's experience, combined with financial backing and business guidance from the Siris Capital Group team, has the potential to resolve this longstanding issue.

On a related note, shifting from a public to privately-held company will free Polycom from some of its reporting and shareholder-responsibility burdens. That said, Siris did not become a multibillion-dollar private equity firm by accepting excuses or mediocre performance. So while Polycom's quarterly reporting requirements have changed, the pressure to reward its private shareholders has likely increased.

Ongoing Technology Innovation
Polycom rarely disappoints when it comes to product innovation. At this year's analyst event, engineering dynamic duo Michael Frendo,EVP of worldwide engineering, and Ashan Willy, SVP of product management and alliances, presented and demoed a wide range of enhancements on existing products, and even a handful of new products.

The company has worked hard in recent years to consolidate its product line, standardize and centralize its code base, and streamline its product development processes. These efforts are now starting to bear fruit, allowing the firm to develop and release new products and features more quickly, and at reduced cost.

Unfortunately, all of the product-related information was provided under non-disclosure. I can, however, say that some of the products will propel Polycom into new market segments and increase its footprint in the enterprise. This is all good news given the ongoing pressure on the video endpoint and video infrastructure business.

Go-To-Market Updates
While perhaps not as headline-worthy as going private, a new CEO, or new product/feature announcements, Polycom described a handful of got-to-market (GTM) shifts that have great potential.

Most notably, channel VP Nick Tidd presented some fascinating details about Polycom's channel performance -- highlighting areas of strength, weakness, and opportunity. Tidd also described several pending changes to Polycom's channel program, including a revamp of the certification program, a plan to eliminate the need to purchase demo gear, and an overall shift from a revenue to a value model.

In addition, SVP Willy has been tasked with expanding Polycom's joint development and GTM efforts with service providers and other ecosystem partners.

In Closing
The event also included sessions on Polycom's marketing efforts, an update from the services team, and a breakout session with a few large customers. All in all, I found Polycom's 2016 analyst conference to be well planned, well executed, and extremely informative. The last few months could not have been easy for these folks. But at this event, they didn't skip a beat.

And most of all, I left the event feeling newly enthusiastic about Polycom's efforts and direction.

Related posts:


October 24, 2018

With disparate workplaces and ever-expanding volumes of information to manage, the challenges for collaborating effectively are only intensifying. Many critical applications are not integrated, and

October 10, 2018

Businesses are growing across international borders quicker than ever, but scaling operations to follow suit can be a harder, longer process.

This webinar focuses on scaling your next-generat

September 26, 2018

Join Kevin Kieller, Microsoft UC&C expert, along with Ribbon Communications and Polycom, for an update on Microsoft Ignite, and a focus on critical things you need to know about your voice deployme

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.