Polycom Makeover Continues with New Products and Leadership
By Jim Lundy
David Smith and I attended Polycom’s Industry Analyst PACE meeting this week and we left with a feeling that the extreme makeover that Peter Leav described earlier this year is well underway. It is always interesting how quickly a technology provider can change when the right leadership is put in place—this is what appears to be happening with CEO Peter Leav.
Polycom demonstrated a number of new products and announced three of them during the meeting:
1. Polycom® RealPresence Touch: new tablet touchpad to manage meetings and rooms
2. Polycom® RealPresence® Group Series 5.0 software: better integration with Microsoft Collaboration (Lync and Skype for Business)
3. Polycom® RealPresence® OTX® Studio: brings high-end immersive video capabilities to mid-sized conference rooms
The key thing about the announcements is that Polycom is doing more of them. Earlier in the year, they announced an expanded relationship with Microsoft that included the Roundtable 100, which offers a new benchmark in features, capabilities, and price.
All of this combined signals something we talked about earlier in the year. Innovation has returned to Polycom and we are seeing a gradual refresh of the product line occur in a systematic process.
Polycom has had solid cash generation production since Peter Leav joined the company. That said, sales haven’t been as robust as they should be in some markets and Peter is taking action to rectify that.
At PACE, we were introduced to Chris Jones, the new President of the Americas. Chris is a battle-tested sales executive and I got to sit next to him for part of the event. He is a good guy and we had a very good conversation. Given his experience, we expect him to bring some of the talent he has worked with at other firms to Polycom.
Peter made a strong hire.
There was a lot more at PACE besides just new products. The bigger part of the conversation was about change. The executives showed passion and energy and it is clear they believe in what they are doing. There is more to this story and we will be monitoring the continued change we see coming from the new Polycom team.