Polycom Debuts Professional UC Services Options For VARs

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Polycom on Tuesday launched a portfolio of professional services offerings it says will help VARs expand their unified communications (UC) practices. The services will be offered through solution providers, Polycom Global Services and vendor partners in Polycom's Open Collaboration Network program.

The services include Solution Planning & Design, Pilot Solution Deployment and Full Solution Deployment, the goal being to give Polycom-certified solution providers a way to make money through helping enterprise customers develop their UC infrastructure. They'll also help Polycom better compete with the services engines of its big rivals, like Cisco.

The move is in line, according to Polycom, with Polycom Connect, the four-month-old revamped channel program it rolled out in hopes of enticing its most loyal solution providers to add certifications and thus obtain more rewards.

"The strategy is to empower and enable them [VARs] to have augmented opportunities to make money with Polycom," said Maurizio Capuzzo, Polycom's vice president of global channel marketing. "They choose what suits them, but they're not just transferring a value-add knowledge. They're sharing the methodology and practices that are within each of those UC phases -- all the processes, workflow and tools -- that our Polycom experts use. That's made available to the partners."

Polycom's Open Collaboration Network, through which it has strategic partnerships with everyone from Microsoft and Avaya to Juniper and IBM, will also play a role in the types of services offered. One of the first tailored services available, for example, is building architecture using Polycom products with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2, including Outlook integration.

Specific services involving other vendors' products and platforms, such as IBM Lotus, are in the works, said Jeff Connolly, director of professional services at Polycom. But partners will benefit most by having access to the same tools -- as well as the same support updates -- that Polycom uses in-house.

"We're going to share these things in an open-book fashion," Connolly explained. "Our best practices and our ongoing support updates for certified partners. We want them to build on their UC capabilities."


Next: Polycom Aims For Expanded Partner Base

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