Communication and collaboration technology have become the lifeline for any enterprise or business for a long time. But there is a surge in disruptive technology which is pressurizing the traditional players to reinvent themselves.
Consumer technologies like social media or Whatsapp, which are more prominently dominant in the marketplace, have reset the expectations of customers in enterprises. Employees of an organization expect a new workplace which is mobile and anywhere any time. This brings to the market the demand for simplicity, access anywhere, without boundaries or restrictions, which has prompted communication and collaboration technology vendors to reinvent their product lines to be more relevant to the customers.
“Our global strategy is to help people defy distance”
India & SAARC
Giving a perspective of Polycom’s vision and strategies, Polycom India’s Managing Director, Minhaj Zia, Managing Director says, “A result of the overarching need of the technology change means how we can make things simpler and more natural, so that anybody can use it without a learning curve. It has to be modular and adaptable, so you start on simple things and then expand as you go along, the quality consistency and reliability should be very high and should be made available through a cloud-type offering or centralized data centers.”
He further added that there is a need for vast employment, as far as renewed communication application technologies are concerned. The price of the services also needs to be adjusted to the new parameter.
Stating Polycom’s vision, Minhaj maintained, “Our global strategy is to help people defy distance. Basically we are bridging the gap that comes in organizations where people are spread across different geographies and time zones and unleash the power of human collaboration to enable organizations to be more productive and more efficient.”
This particular vision of Polycom is delivered with three key strategies. First involves making products which allow people to collaborate in workspaces, airports, public places, office parking, etc. Secondly, collaboration should be natural, should not look artificial and therefore people should not get hurdles using this technology. Third and last, from enterprise perspective, technology should to be integrated with the workflow. The offerings should be in sync with how people work in their organizations and not be very different, because then one is asking users to learn new technologies.
He added, “It is about how quickly you can launch a collaborative application from the business application itself, so that you get connected to key decision makers, take their opinion, make the decision and move on and move the process. Because many business processes, although they are automated, require approvals, which are done by human beings. Therefore, the entire collaboration technology we believe should become a part of the workflow of the organization itself.”
Polycom’s 68% growth in 2014 was further strengthened by a 25% spur on top of it in 2015. In 2014 Polycom was awarded with the Frost n Sullivan award chosen by select panel of CIOs, as the best enterprise videoconferencing vendor of 2015.
Asper Minhaj Polycom notched No. 1 position with 44% market share in India. In video end point, the company grew about 20% and in infrastructure, which is data centers, multi party conference, servers etc., the company registered a 29% YoY growth. The smaller IP phone business grew very fast at a 94% YoY growth. Polycom took a lot of stake with its partnership with Microsoft. Services business which was crucial to Polycom’s success… grew by 25% last year. As for industry performance in government verticals, Polycom won a lot of Govt. customers like Food Corporation of India at 75 locations, Punjab Police and also the NIC contracts. NIC is its biggest customer with more than 80% NIC network employs Polycom’s solutions.
Video is large play Polycom. Its voice portfolio is growing rapidly with time as it has clocked 62% growth in 2014 and 23% in 2015. Polycom’s 100% business is through channel partners. As per Minhaj today’s collaboration technologies are key areas for successful organizations, but expectations have also changed. Polycom’s authorized Partners cater to SMEs where as Gold & Silver Partners look after the Enterprise needs.
As Minhaj added, “We have 70 partners and then there are very small partners who work under distributors. Our channel strategy is a mixture of expansion through network of partners. We have established a strong presence in UP, Punjab, NE, Gujarat and Assam now. We covered 26 cities in 2014 which went up to 70 in 2015. In total we have 70 partners and 200 odd distributors which make it a total of 270 partners/ distributors across 70 cities in India.”
Polycom has been a pioneer in enabling communications for Office 365. Minhaj commented, “There is nothing exclusive but we were the first ones to bring out these capabilities. No other vendor has been qualified by Microsoft. Although, there might be others in the future but we have a clear edge. Globally, wherever Microsoft sells its solutions, 75% of the devices customers buy are from Polycom.”
Polycom earlier had a long standing association with Avaya, however Minhaj stated that with Avaya getting its own video capabilities, the relationship is gone, “We have no OEM relationship with Avaya. Earlier, Avaya used the relationship for different purpose when Avaya didn’t have a/v conferencing capabilities, we provided them. Now they have bought a company a couple of years ago.”
So the relationship of both the company doesn’t exist anymore and both the companies are competitors now. However, Polycom has a long-standing VC agreement with Airtel since last 8 years, which is a good proposition for the market. Today, the total UC market size in India is around Rs.1200 – Rs.1500 Cr. Of this, the SME market accounts for 25% or less but is growing rapidly according to him. Partnerships like this could easily be a propellant to the UC growth.
For FY17, Polycom has two pillars of growth, i.e, expand to new geographies with new first time customers and get more leverage in pricing for high-end products. Geographically, Polycom plans to expand its network from 70 cities to more than 100 cities by the end of the year. As a concluding remark, Minhaj said, “Customer today, do not want to get locked-in with a single vendor. They wish to pick and chose right technologies and that is where Polycom addresses customers needs.”