Polycom Brings All Partner Programs Under One Umbrella


Polycom has taken its various channel partner programs and combined them into one umbrella program, the Polycom Partner Network, that reorganizes Polycom's more than 7,000 channel and alliance partners and adds an ISV-centric developer program to the mix.

The Polycom Partner Network includes seven partnership categories: Strategic Alliances, which are vendors that ally with Polycom and its RealPresence platform for joint business development; Technology Partners, which work with Polycom on joint product development and marketing relationships; Developers, which build offerings to integrate with RealPresence software; Two-Tier Distributors; Solution Advisors, which are Polycom's traditional VARs; System Integrators, which are Polycom's traditional contractor and consultancy-type integrator partners; and Service Providers, which offer network services and transport, or classify as MSP or video-as-a-service partners.

All members of previous Polycom programs such as Choice, Open Communications Network and ARENA are now being categorized under the Partner Network, Polycom said.

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Tracey Newell, Polycom's executive vice president, global sales, said the new structure will help Polycom partners better specialize.

"The new Polycom Partner Network broadens our global partner ecosystem so that partners can focus on what they do best, and easily find and collaborate with the right partners in our ecosystem to deliver complete and customized unified communications and video collaboration solutions for every customer, worldwide," Newell said in a statement.

In addition to the structural changes, Polycom is promoting a new partner portal and marketing resources to help partners market Polycom software. There are two new authorized Polycom marketing tags: "Polycom Ready," reserved for devices, networking products and applications that interoperate with Polycom RealPresence; and "Polycom Powered," for more intensive solutions that integrate or embed Polycom wares.

The moves are in line with a recent shift in Polycom's corporate branding to focus on software. The company in May unveiled a new corporate logo and marketing overhaul designed to position Polycom as as a video-centric UC provider with a substantial software footprint, moving away from businesses such as wireless handsets, which Polycom is in the process of divesting.

Specific to the channel, Polycom also launched new specializations and certifications at its TEAM partner conference this past spring.

"It's a move toward a very bona fide software play," Kate Hutchison, Polycom's chief marketing officer, told CRN in May. "What was encouraging at TEAM was to see the partner community having had a full six months to digest what we've been announcing and see the investment we're making in them."

PUBLISHED JULY 12, 2012