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CRN: How else do partners benefit from greater loyalty to Polycom?
Miller: Our Polycom TEAM conference this year, which takes place in early February, will focus on programs that explicitly reward for loyalty -- for leading with Polycom. The details are still being worked out, but that's what we want. That's for new partners coming into the market, that's for VARs, that's for the teams we're working with at places like CSC and Dimension Data and carriers like AT&T.
CRN: Worth noting, of course, that Dimension Data and AT&T and others you've mentioned are big Cisco video partners as well.
Miller: The landscape is changing. Two years ago, we talked a lot about our relationships with Microsoft and HP as partners. A lot of partners came to me and said, 'Andy, oh my god, you did this deal with Microsoft? How in the world are you going to minimize our risk and help us make money?' Fast forward two years, and the pull-through for our partners with Microsoft awareness has helped partners all over the world. And HP provided an opportunity for some partners to concentrate on new markets. The only thing that's constant is change. Partners have to exhibit an ability to embrace that.
CRN: How does that Microsoft relationship help Polycom partners?
Miller: When I look at Microsoft and how it enhances what a traditional partner can offer, I think the difference is in what we call influence revenue. The way Microsoft sells is very different than what a traditional Polycom partner is used to. It's a different go-to-market strategy, it's a process of sales through an enterprise licensing channel. For our partners -- especially for the smaller partners that don't invest in Microsoft already -- the win rate of Polycom against Cisco is 80 percent when we're aligned with Microsoft software.
CRN: Cisco's response to that would probably be, well, we can do everything. We can do the entire UC and video sale and you can get it all from us. So why is partnering instead of trying to do that whole UC play better for you?
Miller: Our strategy has always been a best-of-breed interoperability, using open standards. Cisco's approach is single-stack. But when I go into a customer, I tell them, 'Polycom can run a Cisco network better than Cisco.' How can that be? Our open standards, our interoperability, the ability to link our system with IBM Sametime, with Microsoft Lync, with enterprise communication products all over. We natively integrate with Lync vs. Cisco's gateway approach -- that's very significant in terms of TCO, not to mention efficiency.
Where we lose is where they bring [Cisco CEO] John [Chambers] in, or if a buyer says, 'Well' I'm going Cisco no matter what.' But eight out of 10 times, we can win against Cisco. The challenge for our partners is making it appear to the end user that what we have and what we leverage from the partners we work with is so easy to procure so it looks like a one-stop shop. That can happen easily with systems integrators and carriers and we're trying to make more partners do that well.
CRN: Talk about HP. You acquired their video portfolio, including the higher-end Halo telepresence and also have that exclusive reseller agreement. Does that benefit you?
Miller: HP's been a great opportunity for us to acquire Fortune 500 logos. The resell side has gone a little slower than we would have anticipated, mainly because of the challenges HP is going through with its financials.
NEXT: Polycom's Acquisition Strategy