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Bullish Unify embraces channel at Connected Business Expo

Alex Scroxton

Unify, the unified comms and networking business formally known as Siemens Enterprise Communications, is embarking on a concerted effort to put at least half of its business through the channel, saying it has not done nearly enough in the past to help partners warm to it.

Having hired a number of execs out of distributor Westcon, most recently Bill Hurley as chief marketing officer, the firm’s new EVP of worldwide channels – and former Comstor president – Jon Pritchard said the business was sending a clear signal of its intentions.

Pritchard took up his post in February and speaking to MicroScope at Connected Business Expo at London Olympia today, said he had already found some things he liked, and some he disliked.

“We don’t have enough partners committed at the right level, which shows we have got something wrong in the past that we need to address,” he said.

Unify currently does less than 30% of its business through partners, a figure still reflective of its Siemens heritage, and Pritchard conceded that “the market has moved forward while I’m not so sure Unify did.”

Pritchard’s immediate priorities are to grow the channel’s geographic reach, make sure partners better understand the firm’s programme and its rewards, and encourage more joint projects.

In the mid-term he will also take charge of rendering its new UC platform, Project Ansible, into a fit state for partners to make money on. The solution is currently slated for a midsummer release although MicroScope understands some customers are already trialling it.

The firm has already launched a new user-based enterprise licensing programme, simplifying its customer-facing purchasing model and offering the channel new options around recurring revenues

Nimans executive director Richard Carter said: “Clearly the move to a channel-centric business plays well with both Nimans and our channel partners.”

Nimans recently acquired sole distribution rights to Unify’s portfolio in the UK, a move Carter said had already improved relations, and more importantly account management practice, between the two firms.

“The move to having a sole distie in the UK has enabled us to invest heavily in the brand and target the midmarket,” said Carter.

Unify UK indirect channel sales director, Tony Smith, added: “Our distributors were fighting for the same share of the business and not using their resources to develop the channel, we had to remove the necessity for distributors to protect their business.”

 


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