5 Big Things Zoom CEO Eric Yuan Said About Working With The IT Channel

Zoom founder and CEO Eric Yuan, who said he started the company because he “didn’t see a single happy Webex customer,” believes that video is the new voice and is counting on the channel to help Zoom build on its impressive growth spurt.

Zooming Into The Future

Zoom Video Communications became an overnight success -- or the "Kleenex" of videoconferencing -- overnight as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe and forced millions of employees, students, and consumers to turn to video to work and learn remotely, as well as stay in touch with friends and family during stay-at-home mandates and quarantines orders.

Through it all, Zoom launched a channel program with a handful of U.S.-based master agents that has seen staggering growth since its start in March. Zoom‘s chief revenue office Ryan Azus said that even since the launch seven months ago, there’s been a lot of changes and expansions to Zoom’s channel program, including a simplified deal registration process and extended the reach of the channel into Europe and Australia.

Zoom loves the channel “more than any other vendor” and wants to create integrated solutions that work for customers -- and works with solutions they already have in place, said Eric Yuan, former vice president of engineering for Cisco Webex-turned founder and CEO of Zoom.

Master agent AVANT and its community of solution providers were the number one channel sales group during Q2 2020 for San Jose, Calif.-based Zoom, according to the Chicago-based company. At AVANT‘s Special Forces 2020 virtual summit on Wednesday, Yuan, alongside Azus, discussed Zoom’s unprecedented growth this year, the new Zoom Phone offering and emerging tech, and the company’s channel focus.

Here are five of the biggest things Yuan wants the IT channel to know.

The origins of Zoom

Before I started Zoom, I was at Cisco for several years and was part of the original Webex team and worked on Webex technology for many years. The year before I left, every morning when I woke up, I didn’t want to go to the office. The reason why was I didn’t see a single happy Webex customer. I had no choice but to leave to build a new solution from the ground up.

The goal is to introduce Webex customers to Zoom. That‘s why I started Zoom.

How he’s handling Zoom’s growth

I think our team is very excited that over the past 8-9 years, to feel like the dream is coming true to help the world [and] to help people stay connected. On the other hand, it‘s a huge responsibility. My kids are using Zoom for all their classes. It’s a huge opportunity and also a huge responsibly. Overall, we feel very excited about the future.

The importance of the Zoom Phone offering

It‘s extremely important. The reason is that we truly believe video is the new voice. Video and voice -- those two are going to be converge into one service, meaning any user can use the same solution, same front-end user experience for video and voice calls with a back-end architecture that is the same on the product side.

On the go to market side -- we have to a little bit more. That‘s why we really enjoy this partnership and we are going to count on [partners] the agent, to help us to grow our presence. [It’s an] agent-centric go to market-based model. Together with the product, with our go to market evolution, it’s a huge market opportunity for us. If you ask for one thing that keeps me very excited every day, it’s Zoom Phone.

On dealing with rivals and the need for a contact center solution

I can tell you that [Zoom] loves you more than any other vendor. Second, we want to be first vendor to work with all the customers endpoints to come up with solution. That‘ a reason why we can stand together with [the partner community].

Our core competency and focus is still around Zoom Room [and Zoom] Phone, but contact center is also important. That‘s why we’re taking a very open approach to partner with vendors -- our partner is [contact center as a service provider] Five9. Together, we can talk to customers and I think the partnership with contact center partners can truly help us and make sure integration is simple. The customers like that very seamless integration. Our go to marketing side, we also want to improve as well. We want to offer Zoom phone and contact center together -- that’s our approach.

On the next best technology

I truly believe the video communications like Zoom in the future can deliver a much better experience than [right now]. Last year, we were in the office I could shake hands with you. Now today, I want to give big hugs, but you can‘t feel my intimacy. In the future, technology can help us get there. Not only that, plus, [things like] if I’m getting a cup of coffee, I always enjoy the smell. That’s a world we can be in the future.