Unify Analyst Conference Round Up

Unify Analyst Conference Round Up

By Blair Pleasant January 26, 2016 Leave a Comment
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Unify Analyst Conference Round Up by Blair Pleasant

At the Unify Global Analyst Conference in Bermuda last week, we got to hear all about Unify’s products and services, as well as its new owner, Atos. Most of us were not familiar with Atos until they announced their intention to acquire Unify last year, but by the end of the conference we generally felt that it was a great match that will benefit both Unify and its customers.

Atos is a $12 billion European professional and managed services firm, with 95,000 employees in 72 countries, and is the #2 ITO in Europe. According to Eric Grall, Executive VP, Global Managed Services, Atos has a long track record of successful acquisitions, including KPMG Consulting, Worldline, Canopy, Bull, blueKiwi, and Xerox ITO. The Unify acquisition is all about enabling customers to “realize the digital transformation.” As Grall noted, “Through digital transformation, we strive to create the firm of tomorrow. We believe that bringing together people, technology, and business is the way forward. We power progress for our clients and partners, and it is our unique approach as business technologists that make this possible. Unify brings the know-how we’re missing, and now we can execute on digital transformation of any business.” He explained that the combination of Atos and Unify will enable customer-driven convergence of IT and communications, while enabling the new way to work through proactive, digital, customer engagement, and follow up, with end-to-end security and reliability.

Unify had gone through a rough period for a few years, and CEO Dean Douglas led a restructuring to help the company return to revenue stabilization. The company changed many of its internal processes, incurred a workforce reduction, and executed a vertical market strategy, all of which are helping to move Unify in the right direction.

At the event, I had the opportunity to meet with many of the Unify executives, who discussed the transformation of the company, as well as plans for moving forward.

During a conversation with Bill Hurley, Unify CMO, Bill discussed the Atos acquisition, as well as Unify’s vertical market approach, and what we can expect from Unify going forward.

As part of the company’s transformation, Unify is moving to an indirect sales model, rather than a direct model. In the following interview, John DeLozier, GM Channels, Americas, discusses the new model, as well as the impact of the new Atos ownership of Unify, and Unify’s new relationship with ScanSource.

Much of the discussion at the event was about Circuit, Unify’s team collaboration or workstream communication and collaboration service. Code named Ansible, Circuit was among the first of the new team collaboration solutions to be introduced to the market. Since that time we’ve seen many more products and services in this area, including Cisco Spark. In this interview, I spoke with Jan Hickisch, VP, Global Portfolio Marketing about Circuit and the new pricing model that includes a “freemium” model, which is expected to help Circuit get into the hands of many more users. Jan also discussed how Circuit capabilities can be expanded into customer engagement opportunities.

While Circuit is the new darling of Unify, the company hasn’t lost its focus on its traditional revenue generator, OpenScape. Unify has made changes to OpenScape and continues to invest in this product.

In this follow-up interview, Jan Hickisch discusses OpenScape and some of its recent updates and enhancements.

One of the best sessions at the conference was the customer panel, where we heard from representatives from the Alabama Department of Revenue, The Chamberlain Group, Kennesaw State University, Hyatt Hotels, and channel partners Eclipse Technology Solutions and Arrow S3. I had the opportunity to speak with Julie Magee, Commissioner of Revenue, Alabama Department of Revenue, who is using Circuit to help people in her organization better communicate and collaborate.

As someone who had some doubts about the future of Unify, I was very pleased to hear about the changes in the organization. We’ll have to see if my expectations for Atos live up to reality, and whether Unify can get more mindshare and market share in North America. Circuit has quite a bit of competition, and Unify needs to set Circuit apart from the pack. In addition, Unify will need to assure its channel partners that Unify and Atos won’t compete with them for professional services deals, and instead will complement partners’ offerings and provide them with more value. This is, once again, the beginning of a new chapter for Unify, which has gone through many changes over the years in its various incarnations. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next.

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