Q: Can you expand on your current partner network in the country?
GD: We have tiering for our partners where we have platinum, gold and registered partners. This comes under the Choice Programme, which was re-launched in July this year. We are bringing some enhanced services and functions to that, as we mature more and services mature more.
We have around 5 platinum partners, around 10 gold partners and maybe around 500 registered partners. THe certification goes across video and voice. We have got a lot of partners selling voice and the conference phone models. Then we have got emerging partners in the systems integration space, who come from a different angle.
There are Lync partners doing video and integrating experiences , the Exchange and Sharepoint type partners - we are exposing more of the software as APIs - so they are starting to write apps to embed video into a process. So the ecosystem is changing quite rapidly and requirements are moving into the systems integration and development discussion.
It is fragmenting the AV partners who have done room automation. They are still doing plenty of good business, with flat screen panel and sinking room experiences. They are moving away from implementing the core video platforms, moving more into the user experience in the room. They are then partnering with service providers and SIs. We are telling partners to get niche and get big, and partner with others who can add or complement to your capability.
Q: What are the potential changes that you are considering to the partner network?
GD: We will expand. We are going to end up with more categories. We haven't formalised that at this point. But the more we talk to the developer, we don't have a category for them, but they are partners, and we need to know that that customers will get a certain experience by working with them and they have a certain capability and understanding. We will look to launch a category for them, though I can't give you a timeline.
There are service providers as a sub-category, who build and service platforms and provide them through managed services or the cloud. Then you have traditional AV players, then there are the video people who do the on premise and then there are those who focus on the end-points that we need to develop out.
Our mantra internally is that we are a software-led business. We have been seen as hardware, but now its more about software leading the hardware. So we need to bring new categories of partners into play. The sophistication of projects has increased and with that we should ensure more partner programmes.
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