Andrew Miller: Polycom will drive the next era of collaboration

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In an exclusive interview, Polycom CEO Andrew Miller talks about the impact of mobility on the visual communications market and about Polycom's move to the cloud

When you think about Polycom, the first image that might pop into your mind is the company's 'iconic, triangular speakerphone.' But CEO Andrew Miller wants you to know that Polycom is much, much more than that. In this installment of the IDG Enterprise CEO Interview Series, Miller spoke via Polycom's high-definition telepresence system with IDGE Chief Content Officer John Gallant about why Polycom should really be known as a software company and about Polycom's move to the cloud. Miller also discussed the impact of mobility on the visual communications market and why -- despite all the talk about video from Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers -- Polycom is in a better position to help companies drive the next era of collaboration. He also talked about the powerful partnerships Polycom has built with top-tier service providers and enterprise stalwarts like Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, IBM, and others.

John Gallant: Talk about the overall strategic focus for the company. What do you want IT executives to understand about Polycom?

Andrew Miller: We want them to understand the value of unified communication and collaboration, how this technology actually enhances productivity, becomes a valued asset for business continuity and, at the same time drives, return on investment in terms of the travel and productivity aspects of visual communication. Overall, to understand the collaborative aspects of unified communication and how they allow a company to become more productive and enable business connectivity. That's really the vision and mission of our conversations with the CIOs in the industry.

Gallant: For many people, when they think about Polycom they tend to think of the different devices, the hardware they use. In September you outlined a new software strategy. Co-founder and Chief Evangelist Jeff Rodman said at the time that Polycom was embracing a more software-centric view of the world. Talk about that software strategy and what people need to understand about it.

Miller: I think one of the myths about Polycom is that people perceive us as a hardware-based company. They know and love this triangular, iconic speakerphone. When you look at this unit [we're using for our interview], you see camera and screen technology and assume that it is very hardware intensive. But the reality is that 85 percent of the technology that we develop is actually software. We actually are a software company today. Part of this [strategy] is to change the market perception to understand what Polycom actually delivers and how software enables that technology. The other part of it is around our movement into the cloud and our movement as a company from premise-based to cloud-based technology. We want to reset the perception of what really lies underneath the actual componentry that people see and to extend our technology into the cloud and articulate a software vision of how that becomes a reality.

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