Tale of Two Entities: Unify, Atos, and the Success of Finding Whitespace
Apr 27, 2018
The recent global analyst conference hosted by IT services powerhouse Atos was an eye-opening experience for this unified communications analyst. Since its acquisition of Unify almost three years ago, there have been many questions as to whether Atos really understood what they had in the Munich-based UC vendor, as well as what their long-term intentions would be for the company. The answer is becoming clearer: Unify is not only surviving but growing in a market where competitors are flailing. In addition, it evolved into one of the key product pillars within Atos and Unify innovation will be at the core of Atos’ digital workplace strategy.
Finding Synergies in the “Whitespace”
How is Unify finding new business growth in a competitive climate that has been the deathknell for many PBX vendors? Firstly, and most importantly, Unify (and all of Atos, for that matter) is seeking out new opportunities in the “whitespace” that exists between Unify and the numerous business units within Atos. Put another way, Atos and Unify are mining the hidden opportunities that exist between the consolidated installed base of Unify and Atos customers. For example, Atos’ sales teams are strongly encouraged (and incentivized) to go back to their key clients and look for opportunities where Unify’s UC and collaboration solutions (OpenScape UC, Circuit, OpenScape Contact Center, or vertical specific solutions such as OpenScape Xpert) might be a good addition. Likewise, Unify is expected to bring the rest of the Atos’ services portfolio to their installed base. While this approach may seem obvious, executing on such a strategy within an organization as large as Atos has been a daunting task, but the effort is finally seeing rewards for both Unify and its parent.
During the event, Unify shared a few cases where the synergies with Atos are developing into real-world results. For example, Atos has developed an entire practice around public safety, with Unify’s next generation 9-1-1 expertise and solutions at its core. In another case, Unify plans to leverage Atos Codex, the company’s machine learning and analytics platform, to support Circuit with UC-focused and quality of service analytics. With Codex, both Unify and their customers can understand and address quality of service issues as they come up, as well as better understand the “who, what, where, when, and why” of Circuit and OpenScape adoption.
Communications at the Heart of Digital Transformation Efforts
It may go by many names, but the notion of digital transformation, the process of using digital technologies to remove cumbersome obstacles to growth that have built up in an organization over time, is one of the important efforts that an organization of any size or shape can undertake. It should come as no surprise than that IT services providers such as Atos are ramping up their own efforts and offerings to assist their clients through the digital transformation exercise.
Improving business communications with advanced UC and collaboration tools is often the first, and possibly most important step that businesses can undertake under digital transformation. In this regard, Unify’s on-premises, cloud-based and hybrid UC portfolio fits well in the core of Atos’ Digital Workplace (DWP) offerings. In turn, DWP and digital transformation are also having a profound impact on Unify and its product roadmaps, with much effort going into making the communication platforms significantly more extensible and deployable across on-premises, private and public cloud, as well as hybrid deployments. Broader digital transformation endeavors are showing the synergistic value that Unify and Atos bring to each other.
Ultimately, it has taken some time for Atos and Unify to find their joint path forward, but together, they offer an approach that is fairly unique in the unified communications marketplace. Many of Unify’s competitors work closely with IT service providers as limited partners or in more basic vendor/customer relationship, but only Atos has a strong communications and collaboration portfolio directly under its control. With the success that Atos and Unify are having with this approach, and the ongoing consolidation happening in the UC space, it would not be surprising, if other IT services organizations follow Atos down a similar path.
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