With Unify’s 2016 Global Partner conference taking place next week in Barcelona – we caught up with Michelle Jones, VP of Channel Marketing.
Hi Michelle, please tell us a little bit about yourself and what drives you.
For starters, I’m the mother of 3 girls and we all share a passion for horses, which is a very involving pastime! In terms of my career, I’ve got over 20 years experience in telecoms and communications and you could say I was born into the channel. What drives me is my love of finding ways to help partners develop new business opportunities through marketing.
How long have you worked at Unify and why did you join….
I joined Unify in January 2015, so just I’ve just passed my 1 year anniversary and it certainly has been a very busy 12 months and one of real change.
As a keen industry watcher, I have been following Unify’s progress – especially over the past few years when it became apparent that they were deadly serious about transforming its business into being a software & services player and accelerating its growth through the channel. That was actually one of my reasons for joining, along with the opportunity to bring to market a channel-ready unique software cloud offering: Circuit.
How has the partner landscape changed?
I think the first thing to say is that as with the vendor landscape – the channel landscape is going through a period of consolidation. In addition, end users are becoming more and more demanding and more technology savvy – and less loyal to a particular provider.
In short, it’s extremely tough and competitive out there – and it’s not going to get any easier!
Partners today need to deliver real value and be able to differentiate through offering hybrid/ cloud solutions for their customers who no longer want to purchase a telephony solution. Marketing becomes more and more important – especially in attracting that pipeline of new prospects. I really believe Circuit can really be that door opener.
What would you say were the big opportunities for partners (in general and also Unify) in today’s market?
If you take a look at our recent “Way We Work” study (check out this infographic) where we set out to discover the “real” working attitudes and behaviors of 9000 knowledge workers, it throws up lots of opportunities. Growing businesses in particular are embracing flexible working, mobile technology and exploring cloud based technologies and this represents a significant opportunity for our partners, especially by selling Circuit.
The opportunity is definitely there for those partners who are embracing newer technologies and also professional services which will add a degree of specialization.
Without giving the game away, what’s in store for attendees next week?
The theme for this year’s conference is Más Dinero!, which basically means “More Money” in Spanish. The event starts on Monday night with an informal evening and then continues on Tuesday morning with a 2 day program of presentations and working sessions. This is not going to be a sit and tell event – the agenda is designed to be highly interactive and we will be using Circuit to promote conversations throughout the event.
We are continuing to make investments in how we enable and simplify our programs and processes for our partners – there are lots of updates and enhancements that will form a road map for next 12 months.
What does Unify want to achieve from this year’s partner conference?
A global partner conference represents a big investment in time from us and also our partners – so we are not going to waste the opportunity!
- It’s around 12 months since our first global partner conference – and we want to Reinforce that through our voice of the partner surveys and day to day dialogues, we have listened to our partners and have made enhancements accordingly.
- We want to provide Clarity on the future with as part of the Atos family – from a partner and portfolio perspective.
- Partners also learn from each other – and part of the agenda will be Highlighting innovative sales approaches that have led to success, and some of them are really inspiring. Quite simply, if our partners are successful, we are successful.
What are you looking forward to the most?
As a marketer, I am really looking forward to getting feedback about the upcoming marketing programs we are just about to launch. Of particular interest is the start of our new full wrap marketing service that is designed to enable all partners to build and nuture their own pipeline of leads – using our content and campaigns.
How can non attendees follow the event?
We will be live tweeting on our partner twitter channel @UnifyPartners from the event using the hash tag: #UnifyPC2016 and uploading videos and photos to our Facebook and LinkedIn pages. Post event, we’ll be sharing content and partner perspectives.