Unify accelerates SA operations, expands into new markets
Unify, the Atos brand for communication and collaboration solutions, has announced the appointment of Alex Naumov to head the business across the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) region. An industry veteran with an outstanding record for leading business growth in several technology companies in the region, Naumov will now be responsible for spearheading the acceleration of Unify's business expansion across the META region. He joins the Unify team from his most recent role as vice-president of sales at telecommunications company Mitel.
"It is indeed a very exciting time to be part of Unify, a company that is helping to re-imagine the modern workplace in becoming more collaborative, agile and connected," says Naumov. "Unify has a strong value proposition in facilitating a key part of digital transformation that companies seek, with the Circuit platform and OpenScape portfolio of UC & C (unified communications and collaboration) solutions."
With the approaching elections in SA, the market looks promising in terms of initiating projects and infrastructure development, suggests Naumov. He sees 2019 and 2020 as years that will yield strong growth for SA in particular. "Unify has seen strong growth over the latter half of 2018 in the region and we have a very bullish outlook for 2019. We are upbeat about making strong gains in the markets of the region, where we already have a large base in SA and are expanding into new markets such as West Africa," says Naumov.
"The focus will be on key verticals of growth across the region, including government, healthcare, hospitality, etc. In addition, we will look at tapping into opportunities in the UC cloud segment.
"We offer a wide range of solutions for different verticals, including hospitality, security, healthcare, etc, in addition to offering our enterprise grade voice, contact centre and UC & C solutions to Atos customers. Atos will be able to incorporate its expertise around the other product lines into verticals, where Unify has a strong customer base."
Along with current geopolitical issues, there are security investments all around. This necessitates the establishment of Command and Control centres, be they micro, medium or large. These could be at the mall level, building level, city level, etc.
With Unify Openscape Xpert solution for Command and Control, the company can build emergency services such as 999, all the way to enabling an integrated deployment of a command centre with CCTV installations on customers' multiple sites along with a video wall. Unify connects BMS and other systems for alerting and conferencing, and has done deployments for several customers.
The company offers solutions from telephony to safer cities. It has an emergency alarm response and offers smart healthcare through its Hi-Med patient infotainment solution. Add its digital transformation services from Atos, and the company appeals to customers across verticals, from small and medium enterprises to large businesses. For example, when it comes to servicing the hospitality industry, the company attracts customers of all sizes, from two- to five-star hotels.
It is also looking at making inroads into the medium enterprise segment through promotions and through offering more price-competitive solutions.
Naumov says that while UC as a cloud service is still nascent in the region, more adoption is expected in the current year. Unify, he adds, is poised to take advantage of this buy-in with a ready offering.
"While still very limited in this market, UC as a cloud service is a growing opportunity. We are ready for the opportunity. Although most of our current business centres on on-premise systems, we are in talks with several operators to deliver UC as a cloud service. Despite regulatory issues concerning UC as a cloud service in some META countries, and infrastructure challenges in others, we are confident of clocking up good sales traction for the cloud model this year."
As a channel-focused company, Unify will also continue to broaden its partner base, especially in the newer markets.
"We don't have direct sales accounts; all sales are done via the distribution channel," says Naumov. "We are looking to get more partners on board in new markets via the distribution model. We are looking at aggressive growth across the region. With the product lines we have and the team we have, there is no reason why we can't achieve our targets."