Microsoft Lync – soon to be renamed Skype for Business – is winning deals for Polycom’s New Zealand resellers – and necessitating new partnerships and skills for some.
Mark Braxton, Polycom ANZ channel director, says while he can’t provide specific numbers, Polycom resellers are winning three times more deals when the vendor’s voice and video solutions are partnered with Microsoft Lync.
“This is opening up more opportunities for resellers to start having conversations with other parts of the business, such as human resources and marketing,” he says.
Braxton, who took on the role of channel director in September, says the vendor is working to pair up traditional Polycom partners who don’t have strong skills with Microsoft Lync, with Microsoft partners to help them win deals.
“Some of the traditional guys we have been dealing with for many years are now having to move into new areas with Lync. The landscape is changing,” he says, adding that partners can use Polycom ‘as directory services in a way’ to be paired up with a relevant partner with the necessary skills for specific projects.
The vendor is also offering training to upskill resellers.
“For us, Lync is a disruptive force because it is a fundamental change of platform, and instead of changing a couple of buttons, IT managers need to look long and hard at their complete network.”
Lync’s ease of use, and the Microsoft ‘pedigree’ is helping the offering garner new .
“People want their telephony platform to become a UC platform and deeply meld into the organisations.”
Braxton says while the change means an opportunity for ‘a new type of channel partner’ for Polycom, the company won’t be abandoning current partners.
“We intend to keep supporting our loyal partners who have been with Polycom for many years, while also managing the new opportunities presented by Microsoft Lync.”
He adds the company will be providing increased support through competency development and sales and marketing collaboration, along with a strong emphasis on skills development, certification and specialisation ‘to meet the changing needs of our customers’.
“Resellers need to embrace the ecosystem and ensure they have the knowledge and resources needed,” he adds.
“There are network layers, deployment of Lync, the traditional PABX is fundamentally different – so many aspects need to be considered when deploying Microsoft Lync.”
Braxton says that means many Polycom resellers are partnering not just with Polycom, but with Microsoft and some of the niche players.
Last week Gurdeep Pall, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Skype, revealed that in the first half of 2015, the next version of Lync will become Skype for Business ‘with a new client experience, new server release and updates to the service in Office 365’.