Cisco-Tandberg Competitors Circle The Wagons

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Cisco's completed acquisition of Tandberg will shift the balance of power in the video conferencing space, as it vaults Cisco to the position of No. 1 market share leader.

But Polycom, LifeSize and Vidyo -- not to mention a host of other competitors -- have a bone to pick with anyone who suggests they should just roll over and prepare for a Cisco-ruled video kingdom.

All three have made significant investments in channel programs and strengthened their channel leadership. Don't count on any of them to step aside.


Perhaps no single vendor or video conferencing channel is more immediately threatened by Cisco-Tandberg than Polycom. Once the dominant vendor in the space, Polycom lost global market share to Tandberg in recent years -- Wainhouse Research put them at 34 percent and 43 percent, respectively, for 2009 -- and, according to longtime Polycom VARs, let its channel programs become stagnant, even outmoded.

But Polycom began a channel transformation in mid-2009, and it started with new blood, including Vice President of Channels Ron Myers, a former Tandberg vice president of Canada sales; Executive Vice President of Global Field Operations Andy Miller, a former Cisco and Tandberg executive himself; and Vice President of Global Channel Marketing Maurizio Capuzzo, a veteran of IPC, Avaya, Symbol, Ingram Micro, HP and Novell.

Addressing the partner base was one of the first priorities, said Myers, who along with Capuzzo and others helped architect Polycom's new channel program, Polycom Choice, which offers tiered levels of partnership and promises better rewards for Polycom partners that have certifications or specialize in particular vertical markets.

Internally, Polycom previously had separate channel teams for its voice and video practices, something that changed immediately with the new executives in place.

"When Maurizio and I came here, the program hadn't evolved in six years," Myers said. "There was a certain amount of entitlement in the channel, and any time you introduce something new, you create quite a bit of emotion. But we're investing so heavily in our organization now that we needed our program to transform into a model that partners can embrace and grow with. Our goal is to overcommunicate to partners now."


Next: Polycom Sees Benefits

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