Unify GmbH & Co. KG
|Founded||1 October 2008
|Key people||Hamid Akhavan (CEO)|
|Products||Unified Communications and Collaboration, Voice solutions, contact center, Small and Medium businesses, Devices and clients, Network infrastructure and security, Cloud solutions|
|Services||Business services, financing, project engineering and construction|
|Owner(s)||The Gores Group (51%)
Siemens AG (49%)
Unify is headquartered in Munich, Germany and is present in over 100 countries. The company provides software-based enterprise unified communications (UC) solutions (including voice, Web collaboration, video conferencing, contact center, and more), networking solutions, and global services.
The joint venture was announced July 29, 2008, and launched October 1, 2008, with The Gores Group holding a 51% stake, and 49% held by Siemens AG. Hamid Akhavan is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Siemens Enterprise Communications, where he has overall responsibility for the performance of the company. The full executive management team can be found on the Unify website.
Background : Heritage (1847-2006)
Siemens Communications traces its origins to Siemens & Halske Telegraph Construction Company (German legal name : Telegraphen-Bauanstalt von Siemens & Halske) founded by Werner von Siemens on 12 October 1847. Herr Siemens' first invention was the pointer telegraph. In the latter half of the 19th century, the company built long-distance telegraph lines, encompassing major projects in Germany and Russia, and the monumental Indo-European telegraph line stretching over 11,000 km from London to Calcutta. In 1897, Siemens & Halske went public.
During the first half of the 20th century, the company undertook a series of mergers and spin-offs, leading to the formation of three separate companies. The original company, Siemens & Halske, focused on communications engineering. Siemens Schuckertwerke GmbH was founded in 1903 to develop electric power engineering. Finally, in 1932, Siemens-Reiniger-Werke was founded to specialize in electro-medical equipment. In 1966, through a major restructuring process, these main companies merged to form Siemens AG.
In the late 1970s, Siemens AG focused on becoming a key player in the information and communications technology (ICT) space. In 1978, it established 'Siemens Communication Systems', which, in 1985, was reorganized into two divisions - 'Siemens Communication Systems' for public network products, and 'Siemens Information Systems' for PBX and computer-related products. Entering the globalization era of the 1990s, these two divisions made several major acquisitions. In 1989, the PBX division initiated a structured purchase of ROLM from IBM, renaming it ROLM Systems, and completing the purchase in 1992 as Siemens-ROLM Communications. The same year, the company acquired a 40% stake in GEC-Plessey Telecommunications (GPT) which evolved into the UK operations of the current company. In 1991, the carrier networks division acquired Stromberg-Carlson from The Plessey Company plc. In 1996, the PBX businesses of Mercury Communications Ltd, a subsidiary of UK-based Cable & Wireless were also acquired.
In late 1998, Siemens AG undertook a major restructuring into four main divisions: power generation, industry, rail systems, and information and communications (ICN). As part of the ICN Division, 'Siemens Information and Communication Networks' (SICN) -- later to be commonly known as Siemens Communications (Siemens COM) - became Siemens AG's biggest business unit. Its strategic focus was to consolidate and grow its internet-based network technologies, as it was predicted that global data traffic volume would surpass voice telephony traffic in the early part of the 21st century. In addition, Siemens COM placed greater emphasis on the US market, dominated at the time by Nortel Networks, Lucent Technologies, and the emerging Cisco Systems; to that end, the company made two American acquisitions, Castle Networks Inc and Argon Networks Inc in 1999.
In March, 2002, Siemens Communications was divided into two major business units - one for public mobile networks and fixed networks; and the other for enterprise networks.
Siemens Enterprise Communications (2006 - 2013)
The evolution of the current Siemens Enterprise Communications began in June, 2006, when Siemens AG divided Siemens COM into two pieces to enable better strategic focus.
On June 19, 2006, the carrier networks business was merged with Nokia's Network Business Group to form a new joint venture, Nokia Siemens Networks. On October 1, 2006, Siemens Enterprise Communications was created as a wholly owned subsidiary of Siemens AG. Since then, the business has focused on unified communications solutions and services.
In late July 2008, Siemens announced a joint venture with American private equity company The Gores Group (headed by Alec Gores), integrating two Gores Group businesses, Enterasys and SER Solutions.
Enterasys has been operated as a subsidiary of Siemens Enterprise Communications since that time. On September 12, 2013, Extreme Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXTR) announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to purchase the outstanding shares of Enterasys in an all cash transaction valued at approximately $180 million USD. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the fourth calendar quarter of 2013.
Unify (2013 – Present)
In October 2013, Siemens Enterprise Communications was rebranded to Unify, to better reflect the company’s vision to harmonize communications systems, business processes, and people.
Products and services
Unify is a global integrated communications provider that develops, deploys, and manages unified communications solutions, network infrastructure and security solutions, and comprehensive managed and professional services for large enterprises and small to medium businesses (SMB), both directly and via a partner finder application.
Its primary product brands are OpenScape (unified communications applications) and HiPath (converged enterprise communications solutions). The company launched its first version of OpenScape with Microsoft in 2003. This was described by the technology news website No Jitter as "the first full-function UC solution … ahead of its time". Unify has demonstrated firm commitment to and support for open interfaces and standards such as SIP and SOA, and OpenScape was the first UC solution expressly built around these protocols. OpenScape Fusion plug-ins embed communications functionality into existing applications, including Google Apps, Microsoft Lync, Outlook, Sharepoint, IBM Lotus Notes and more. The company’s suite of global services covers managed services, professional services, and maintenance and support services.
OpenScape is scored in the Leaders Quadrant in Gartner's Magic Quadrant surveys for both voice and UC. OpenScape UC received the top rating in Enterprise Connect's UC RFP session in 2012 and 2013. .
- Unified communications
- Voice solutions
Cloud and premise-based voice, and multi-vendor PBX networking
Cloud and premise-based solutions for large enterprises and small-to-medium businesses, including outbound campaign management and workforce optimization
- Small and Medium Businesses
A full suite of UC, voice and contact center solutions for SMB
- Devices and clients
- Managed services
- Professional services
Design and integration services, consultancy and business services
Unify delivers its solutions to the market through a combination of direct sales and partners.
In 2008, the company began to evolve its go-to-market approach from a pure direct selling model to one that leverages both direct sales and partners. Today, its partner channel is global, with over 2,700 registered resellers that span all major markets.
Many countries are exclusively by partners, while others are covered by a combination of direct sales resource and partners. Global Alliance providers such as BT, AT&T, IBM, Verizon, Telefonica, and Deutsche Telekom cover multiple markets with Unify and typically focus on enterprise and select global accounts. Unify's global reseller partners primarily concentrate on SMB customers.
The company has implemented a progressive messaging strategy entailing several successive campaigns.
- Lifeworks (2001). This was the company's vision to address a fragmented communications landscape by delivering a uniform, seamless user experience by integrating communications across multiple protocols, networks and devices, irrespective of geographical location. Lifeworks was awarded the Wall Street Journal Europe's European Innovation Award for 2001.
- Open Communications (2006). With the tagline, "Communications for the Open Minded", this strategy emphasized the value of an open, standards-based software approach and integration with existing applications in the enterprise.
- amplifyTEAMS (2012). With the tagline, "Amplify collective effort. Dramatically improve Performance", Unify presented "amplifyTEAMS". The purpose is to move industry focus from technology to team productivity and performance.
A secure communications platform that pulls together and manages the daily flow of communications - regardless of device, channel and location. Unifying voice, video, social communications, search, business process applications, and other channels, the platform was developed in collaboration with Frog Design Inc.. Project Ansible was announced on July 16, 2013 and will be a core component in the Unify solutions portfolio.
- The Gores Group
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- "Project Ansible". Retrieved October 15, 2013.