Catch Jim Kruger, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer at Polycom in a conversation with Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst & Group CEO,Greyhound Research on Greyhound Research’s knowledge sharing series ONTrigger.
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Sanchit: Good morning, good afternoon, good evening to all our readers, subscribers and clients in emerging markets. Thank you for taking the time out to view our latest videos as part of our knowledge sharing series #ONTrigger. If you’d like to learn more about the ONTrigger, please go on twitter and search for the hashtag, #ONTrigger.
Today we have the good fortune of having Mr Jim Kruger.
Jim Kruger: Thank you for having me here.
SVG: Jim is the Chief Marketing Officer and the Executive Vice President of Polycom and we are sitting her in Mumbai having a sweaty chat about the future of Polycom.
Jim, you have been at Polycom for fourteen long years and that is a long time.
JK: It is. It is a long time especially for a company in Silicon Valley.
SVG: Seven year itch in a marriage, what happened to that, twice over?
JK: Well I have had great experience at Polycom. I have continued to learn, I have had multiple roles. I have gone from product management to product marketing, business development, general management and now I am running marketing for the company and thoroughly enjoyed the technology, thoroughly enjoyed and inspired by how our customers use our technology to really transform the way they communicate.
SVG: You are based in the valley, there are a lot of action happening there. The entire investment community is going gaga over these young start-ups. How is Polycom managing all this change because I am sure it is impacting your business as well?
JK: Yes, there are definitely a lot of start-ups that have come into our market in particular and I think it makes you stand up and stand on your toes, be on your toes and it makes you better. Competition always makes you better. We are celebrating our 25th year anniversary this year and so we have a broad deep experience in this market. We have over nine hundred technology patents which definitely gives us a leg up and we have over four hundred thousand customers across the world as a part of our installed base that we work with so we have tremendous opportunity in front of us and while there are a lot of new start-ups they are very small still, they are trying to make their way into the market and they have a big challenge ahead of them.
SVG: Talking about start-ups and customer installed base, when I speak to CIOs on a regular basis what I often hear is the fact that the need to collaboration is changing very quickly. You have elements of mobility coming in, you have social coming in, and you have got a mobile workforce. How do you think has the collaboration space evolved? You have been a long timer in this industry, according to you how are customers perceiving this globally?
JK: Great question. It has been fragmented and if you go back to the kind of the initiation of unified communications and that promise of bringing everything together on one platform, I think it’s taking a little bit longer than what people think, but we are converging and the applications are coming together on platforms to enable that singular platform to be able to host all those different types of applications from mobility to conferencing and collaboration, content sharing, instant messaging and so-forth and one of our key partnerships that we have in the market is with Microsoft and when Microsoft and Polycom go to market together you do really get that holistic solution, of how Link now converting to Skype for business capability with Polycom deeply integrated into that solution and we are seeing tremendous momentum across the world.
SVG: Let us talk about Microsoft relationship with Polycom. It has been a bit of a hot spot really. Like I would say it’s like a love-hate relationship. You love doing business with each other but there is always a big but about your relationship. How would you describe this engagement?
JK: We have been partners with Microsoft since the beginning. When they started up their UC practice we were the first to provide phones in that environment and we have continued to build up our portfolio of products. So now we have over forty different solutions that work in a Microsoft environment from voice products to video products, to infrastructure that enables our customers to have a mixed environment because there are very few customers that have a pure one single vendor environment and our infrastructure enables that connectivity and that inter-operability across the board, so our relationship with Microsoft has never been better.
We have a very deep relationship with them, not only in the R&D and product development side of things but also in the go-to market and I have been working very closely with my counter-part on the Microsoft side, a relative to demand generation, a relative to joint press releases and so forth and I think you will see some new announcements coming out here very shortly in the next few weeks and then we will continue throughout the year.
SVG: From my observation of the market, and we as an analyst firm do this very well, there are some rough edges around making that relationship work but not so much from product perspective but go-to market, managing the handshake between the both sales teams, managing the handshake between the channel partners, how are you changing that?
JK: It’s a world of competition. Microsoft has developed some products that overlap a little bit with what we do and we have done the same thing vice-versa but with the momentum that we have in competing against large companies in the market we have found great success when going together and that is really the driving point relative to what use-cases do we satisfy from an end user perspective and the technology that we bring to market in conjunction with Microsoft is really unbeatable in the market and so from a go-to market perspective there are thousands of sales people across the world, from a Microsoft perspective and we work very closely with them in the local markets but you have different personalities across different markets and it’s not always perfect but the ones that are most successful are the ones that are collaborating very closely and they are finding their win-rates are very high when they go in.