Polycom lures away Joseph Burton from Cisco to become the company's CTO, one of several executive appointments as the company looks to expand its unified communications business.
Polycom, which has seen rivals like Cisco Systems and Avaya grow their reach
in the unified communications space, is making high-profile moves of its own,
reorganizing its business strategy and revamping its executive lineup.
The biggest name to come to Polycom is Joseph Burton, CTO
for Cisco's UC business since 2007. On Sept. 20, Burton
became Polycom's senior vice president, chief strategist and CTO.
Along with the six new executives, Polycom is creating three
new business lines-enterprise and public sector, SMBs, and service
providers-and is combining its telepresence, video collaboration and voice
communications businesses into a single R&D unit.
The moves come less than five months after Andrew
, a former executive with both Cisco and Tandberg, took over as CEO
and talked about Polycom's promise in the industry.
Burton said he came
to Polycom because of its technology and its people, and the singular focus on
the UC space.
"Everybody at Polycom gets out of bed in the morning and
asks themselves, 'How can we build the best unified communications products?'"
he said in an interview with eWEEK.
Burton pointed to
Polycom's open technology and its partnerships with the likes of Microsoft, IBM,
Hewlett-Packard and Juniper Networks as key attributes that dovetail with the
realities of enterprise communications environments. Businesses are looking to UC
technologies to help reduce expenses such as travel costs and to help improve
The market is growing, with estimates putting spending at more
than $14 billion by 2015, according to Burton.
However, businesses aren't looking for huge rip-and-replace
projects, he said. Instead, they are looking for incremental deployments of new
technologies that take advantage of what is already in-house. In addition,
businesses aren't looking for single-vendor environments, making partnerships
crucial, Burton said.
"No vendor can [provide] a true end-to-end, single-vendor
approach," he said.
The market is undergoing rapid change and consolidation as
vendors look to position themselves for the expected growth. For example, Cisco
earlier this year bought Tandberg for $3.4 billion to bolster is video
communications capabilities. More recently, Avaya
officials on Sept. 15 announced
an expansion of their business into the
video communications space, including rolling out a tabletlike device similar
Another key Polycom appointment was that of Sudhakar
Ramakrishna as senior vice president and general manager of products, and chief
development officer. Ramakrishna, who will join Polycom Oct. 11, currently is
corporate vice president and general manager for Motorola's Wireless Broadband
Access Solutions and Software Operations units.
Susan Hayden, group vice president of sales for OracleDirect,
Oracle's SMB business, is being appointed executive vice president and general
manager of Polycom's SMB unit.