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Former Cisco UC Chief Joins Polycom as CSTO

By Charlene O'Hanlon
September 20, 2010 - News

Polycom has signaled its intention to rule the unified communications space with key executive appointments and a restructuring of its development units into one R&D organization.

The unified communications and collaboration vendor has signed on Joe Burton, former CTO of Cisco’s Unified Communications group, as senior vice president, chief strategy and technology officer and general manager of enterprise and service provider. In his new role, Burton will be responsible for driving the efforts of Polycom as it cuts a swath through the unified communications landscape and moves into new territories such as cloud computing.

“Polycom is already a market leader in some of the key pillars of UC strategy – voice, video, telepresence and infrastructure, and as I’ve gotten to know the people at Polycom better, they seem to understand that unified communications is how IT professionals and end users perceive using these technologies moving forward," Burton said. “This is an industry I’ve been in the middle of for the better part of 20 years, so I’m excited to lead Polycom and how we work with infrastructure providers to give end users the experience they are expecting."

Burton was at Cisco since 2007, where as CTO he led the company’s UC efforts including video technologies, WebEx collaboration, call management and social computing. Prior to that, Burton was the co-general manager of Cisco’s UC Software business unit.  He has also held several key architecture-level positions at Cisco, Active Voice and other technology companies.

Polycom also hired Sudhakar Ramakrishna, corporate vice president and general manager of Wireless Broadband Access Solutions and Software Operations at Motorola, who will join the company Oct. 11 as its newest senior vice president and general manager of products and chief development officer. At Motorola, Ramakrishna was responsible for scaling Motorola’s 4G business and leading more than 2,300 employees and businesses worldwide. He also has held key positions at Stoke Networks, 3Com and other technology companies.

Burton’s and Ramakrishna’s appointments are two of six key positions Polycom announced, all designed to drive the company’s efforts further into different technologies and expanded markets.

The company also announced it is combining its video, telepresence and voice development units into a single, aligned research and development organization. In addition, Polycom will be forming three new lines of business – enterprise and government/public sector, service provider and SMB – each focused on meeting the unique needs of customers in each of these fast-growing technology sectors.

“The steps we’ve taken say we are serious about unified communications and taking advantage of the opportunity the technology offers," said Heidi Melin, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Polycom. “We are bringing our products to the table with a pretty amazing UC offering. Now our talent is backing that up, and these new lines of business further our commitment to better anticipate and deliver on our customer and partner needs."

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