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: You also support blackberry and windows environment?
Jim Kruger: We don’t at this point.
SVG: Is there a plan for that?
JK: Probably for Blackberry in the short-term. Just because of usage, the percentage market share, we find android number one in the market. And of course iOS on apple side are really two big players. We may eventually work towards supporting windows as well.
SVG: Well I must share with you, I recently bought a Blackberry Passport, and it is a fantastic device. There were lots of these executives who will love the entire QWERTY. When you eye the Blackberry passport, it’s a great device. So is there any way these executives can also join in if they are on Blackberry.
JK: Our software, won’t work on Blackberry today, but again, we have an eye over the market on a frequent basis. And if they start to gain market share, where we get many of our customers, we will definitely look to support them.
SVG: So let’s talk about Peter. He is the CEO. He came like 5 quarters before. Tell me something. How is the change for Polycom? Because Polycom sort of came up with the entire software strategy, then went back that really confused the market. Has that changed after Peter coming in? What’s his focus?
JK: So our declaration to become a software company was a little premature. And so now, it’s not so much of a focus on will we be a software company or hardware company. It’s really a combination. And when you look at our R&D resources, I think the latest was 85% of our resources are focused on software which really drives our hardware devices. But Polycom has a unique value proposition in that we bring Hardware, Software and services together into a total solution and we really focus on driving the user experience. Not only from the simplicity of usage, but also from moving the technology and making it easy for an end user when they using a mobile device or clocking into a conference room, they don’t have to think about the technology. The technology is removed. So they can just focus only on getting their job done.
SVG: So I often have this pitch from vendors, of getting the job done and in the want of doing that, a lot of vendors, why Polycom? While actually moving on to managed services and a bit of cloud delivery as well. Now when I speak to CIOs, they are still very scared because data privacy is a very large part of their mandate. And increasingly risk is becoming more important, and measuring it is even more important. So how are you sort of managing cloud delivery, how secure is the entire environment.
JK: So I will not be getting too much into technical side of that, but absolutely, security is a very very important concept for us and area where we definitely focus upon. So we make sure we have an AES encryption relative to our solutions, and making sure that if we do provide cloud services and cloud offerings, that is of highest standards within the industry relative to the security.
SVG: Ok wonderful. So we are sitting here in Asia pacific, I would love to understand how you look at emerging markets. Is emerging markets a big opportunity at Polycom?
JK: It is, it is. And we are focused on several such markets. Here in India, for example, I would say there is huge opportunity for us. The fact that I have been visiting some customers and I think we are at a kind of transition point too. Because typically our solutions and collaborations, video in particular have been looked at as a reduction in travel type of solution and that’s moving more into deeper integration into enterprise, into work flows, into business functions. Our applications like interviewing candidates, and reducing the time to hire, bringing products to markets and reducing the time it takes to bring the products to market. I think our customers are working at things. It is little bit different right, from just travel reduction. But across Asia, there is definitely opportunities in emerging markets like Indonesia, Vietnam. In fact we are just in process of hiring a new manager who will focus on those specific countries. China, of course, has been a great market for us and we have commanded a No.1 Market share in that market and continue to drive a great success in their as well.
SVG: Speaking of emerging markets, the appetite to spend is not it smaller compared to their western counterparts like in the US or the UK. So how do you cater to it? Do you have a special pricing mechanism or is this discounting name of the game really?
JK: We work through our channel partners and especially in the emerging markets. And leveraged their local knowledge and reach into the market and we definitely work closely with them relative to making sure we are competitive in that specific market. Our sales team work closely with them to do non-standard pricing if it’s required to make sure we satisfy the need of that specific market.
SVG: Does that mean recommended discount levels?
JK: Yes exactly, it does.
SVG: And am I right in assuming that the discount is going to be higher for let’s say for Africa compared to an Asia?
JK: You know it really depends, it depends on what type of customer they are because we have a lot of global customers and we come up with global pricing for those customers. And so the difference in pricing is really not that significant in emerging markets versus the mature markets.
SK: Ok Wonderful. Are there any particular verticals that excite Polycom for emerging markets?
JK: Yeah we definitely have focused from a vertical perspective. We are focused on healthcare, education, government, manufacturing, and finance. We actually have a team that is part of my organization that focuses specifically on those markets. So we have a former teacher, former nurse that can go and speak the language of those customers and it really deepens the understanding of them.
SVG: So the entire lingo can be actually associated with.
JK: Yeah, and understand what the applications are.
SVG: Well Jim I wish you all the best. Thank you very much for taking time. It was a pleasure chatting with you.
JK: Appreciate it.
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