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CRN: The other concern more traditional VAR and integrator partners keep bringing up is they see what service providers and telcos can do now with regard to delivery video at scale. It's not your job to manage competition between telcos and VARs, but will VARs enjoy the same opportunities with Polycom that the service providers do?
Miller: I think there's a place for everyone. The global guys offer solutions for customers who require a global reach. Others are more vertical-market-oriented, or satisfy niche opportunities. I do think each of them serve a different constituency. When we talk about cloud, we made it very clear that the tier-one service providers will be able to sell it but that VARs will also be able to leverage Polycom's branded resources. That will bring them opportunities, maybe even against the largest service providers. We want to give each partner constituency the opportunity to be successful.
CRN: When you came up as CEO there was concern about Polycom's direction. Two and a half years later it hasn't all been great on the earnings side but you've taken substantial market share in enterprise video from Cisco and the company is on a firm footing. What were the most important moves you made?
Miller: The first thing was hiring a great team. It all comes down to the team. Second, the strategy. No offense to the company when I came in, but this was a company focused on point products. There was not a strong road map in place in terms of where we were going to go. We didn't have a three- to five-year road map that anticipated where the puck would be going. We saw software, and cloud, but we didn't say, 'How do we get there?'
You don't get a lot of 'atta boys' in this market. We feel like we were in a boxing ring these last two years. We were getting punched by investors, by analysts, by press. It's not easy building in a challenging environment in a consolidating industry. You don't get revenues until the strategy is in place. So that's incredible perseverance on our part against a competitor like Cisco. We're outnumbered 10 to 1 from a sales force perspective, and their leader is the best salesperson they have for video. It's a credit to our company for the market share we've gained.
CRN: From the partnering side, it seemed like you were able to exploit the problems Cisco had integrating Tandberg. And with the smaller guys, you saw some interesting moves from LifeSize, Vidyo and the other startups, but they don't have the global capacity or channel scale you do.
Miller: I wouldn't use the word 'exploit.' I think we outmaneuvered them. Nothing was a gift. We knew they'd be going through some challenges in terms of product, people and consolidation. At the same time, we did a good job of understanding the product road map and leveraging that through the channel. [Polycom global channel chief] Ron Myers has been with me for nine years. He ran channels at Tandberg. He's very intimate with and accountable for the relationship with partners.
We want our partners differentiating with Polycom. We want them going in and saying, we primarily distributed Polycom products, not, we carry Cisco, Polycom and LifeSize and take your pick. We want them to be loyal, and I think we've garnered a good amount of that in the last year or two. We are here to lead this market. Cloud and interoperability are [trends] to attack. The partners that stay in the pure endpoint and bridging game, over time, will be marginalized. Ron and his team are trying to get as many partners as they can to understand that.
NEXT: Polycom's Ecosystem Partners