Unify Analyst Summit – The Future is Circuit Collaboration PaaS
We attended the Unify Analyst Summit in Bermuda, January 19-22, 2016, and got a chance to spend time with the leadership team. With the Atos acquisition of Unify now closed, the focus is execution on the core strategy which entails Circuit as the collaboration Platform as a Service (PaaS), which will become the convergence point where all Unify collaboration capabilities will converge into over time. This entails bluekiwi the enterprise social network offering it acquired and OpenScape UC. With Atos, the uber strategy is a move towards software and services, which has become a key trend among enterprise collaboration software providers. We initially covered the acquisition in “Atos Acquires Unify for Greater Stake in Collaboration Platforms and Services.”
A Time of Transition
Unify has been going through a period of transition and transformation that has been ongoing for several years. The work leading up to the rebranding to Unify from Siemens with the flagship Circuit platform involved bringing in a whole new leadership team. Now with the Atos acquisition, we anticipate more executive changes as what typically happens when companies get acquired. Throughout this transition, Unify will have to stay the course on its collaboration strategy which includes Circuit and focus on how it fits into the Atos services portfolio. Strong leadership through this time of transition is critical.
Circuit as a Collaboration PaaS
Circuit as a Collaboration PaaS can potentially collaboration enable a myriad of business apps. However, Unify will have to continually grow an ecosystem around it. Unify has been focused on this since launching its collaborative PaaS APIs and programming models and putting together scheduled Hackathons to energize the developer community around Circuit. This will serve as a great feedback loop for the Circuit product team. As developers extend and embed circuit into other applications, we believe the platform will get key improvements over time. As the collaboration portfolio converges into Circuit, Unify stands to possess a strong feature rich platform that can collaboration enabling business processes and extend its reach and brand exponentially.
The Path Forward for Circuit
It was good that Unify made the Circuit app available for all Summit attendees to use. I like the threaded discussions and persistent space capabilities especially. Unify has made Circuit available in a freemium model, which is a good pull strategy to increase adoption. For any collaboration tool, adoption is always a challenge. Unify will have to message clearly the specific business use cases Circuit can support. The messaging has to resonate with business buyers who are close to everyday business processes. Circuit will have to come down easily into the flow of how people work everyday.
Focus on Services
Atos has a very broad managed services portfolio, which Unify’s collaboration portfolio will be a great fit for. Along with that we will see a greater focus on expanding the footprint into vertical industries. In fact, the focus on verticals thus far has led to positive results for Unify. Success for Atos/Unify will be in growing the partner ecosystem around the Circuit platform and executing on the services strategy. Atos/Unify will have to walk a fine line with partners who may anticipate competition for professional services deals and opportunities.
Unify has a great opportunity under Atos. As the collaboration space moves towards software and services, Atos has a wide range of resources and expertise that can be leveraged. Also, while this is still a transition period for Unify, strategy execution and continual innovation will be critical to the future of the brand.