Roopam Jain's Blog

Polycom's New Direction

20 Sep 2010 | by Roopam Jain
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Polycom announced today the addition of six new executives to its management team. These appointments include Joe Burton as SVP and CTO and Sudhakar Ramakrishna as SVP and General Manager Products. Joe Burton comes from Cisco where he served as CTO for Unified Communications. Sudhakar will join Polycom from Motorola where he is Corporate VP and GM for Wireless Broadband Access Solutions and Software Operations. Polycom also announced the combination of its video, telepresence, and voice development units into a single R&D organization to better establish itself in the UC market. Polycom will be forming three new lines of business (LOBs) - enterprise and government/public sector, service provider, and small-to-medium business (SMB) - focused on better meeting end user needs in each of these sectors.

There is certainly a big shakeup going on within Polycom's management. It started a few months back when Andy Miller replaced Bob Hagerty as CEO. Today's announcement is not surprising since Andy, who came to Polycom from Cisco and Tandberg, had promised to shake things up and focus more on the broader unified communications market. He had also talked about transforming the Polycom culture that is more product and technology focused. Polycom grew at a strong pace in 2010, reporting a 25% revenue growth in the first half of 2010 over same period last year.

Polycom is at unique cross roads today where it faces competition from new directions. Not only is the combined Cisco-Tandberg entity a huge threat but also Polycom's long term partner Avaya is switching gears to partner closely with Polycom rival LifeSize to offer an end-to-end video product line. Avaya announced its own desktop video device last week at an event in New York. Polycom's traditional business structure was soon going to become a hindrance. We believe the new moves being put in place bode well for a more concerted UC effort by the company as well as renewed vertical and end user focus. We have to wait and watch if and how the new management can execute and establish Polycom with a bigger UC vision.