Darren Pattie, head of EMEA, Zoom Phone, talks to Comms Business about the company’s growth and how it works with its partners.
When Zoom appointed Darren Pattie as its new head of EMEA for Zoom Phone in August last year, the Channel started looking at Zoom in a new light. Pattie is a channel guy through and through. During his career, he has held roles with key channel players including Avaya, Vodafone, ShorTel and Tata Communications.
When we caught up with him, Pattie said that he “like everybody else” was “aware of Zoom because of its video-first UCaaS platform”. He was “less familiar” with the company’s Zoom Phone product, but during conversations with the company before joining it became clear that Zoom Phone is a core part of the company’s platform – and its vision.
Now, the product is reaching an inflection point. Pattie explained, “Zoom is looking to move from the killer application of 2020 to the killer platform of 2021 and beyond. Zoom Phone is the first step in extending the value from meetings to voice. It makes Zoom and Zoom Phone more than just a cloud-based PBX; it’s more of a unified capabilities platform as a service.
“It was very clear that Zoom was building a very inspirational vision around value that it could bring to the market. [That vision was] one that I very much wanted to be part of. I’ve walked many miles in this industry. Hopefully I can help us to accelerate the time to value for our customers, for our channels, for our market.”
The company knew it had a great product, but the explosion in usage due to the pandemic was something no one could have anticipated. Pattie said, “I don’t think anybody would have expected the year that we had last year in terms of growth. Zoom is now delivering 300 million daily meetings to participants. We’re very much helping families to connect, educators to teach, businesses to survive, as well as thrive, and governments to govern.”
The role of the Channel
Pattie made clear that Zoom wants to work with the Channel to realise its ambitions. When asked why channel companies consider adding Zoom to their portfolios, Pattie said, “I would say you’re very welcome to take a seat on the rocket ship. The ride will be fun. There’s a reason why we’ve got 300 million daily participants on our meetings platform. There’s a reason why we achieved a million users in seven quarters for Zoom Phone. The real value is the extension of that value from the video-first UCaaS platform to Phone so you’ve got that unified capabilities platform. With that, there is immense value to our channel.”
The Channel as a route to market is strategically important and critical to Zoom’s plans. Pattie pointed to the reality that businesses and organisations want to source their technologies from the Channel as they value their guidance and expertise. “We recognise that customer choice is king, and customers have very strong relationships with channel partners. Customers prefer to have solutions delivered by and supported by the channel. We – and anybody – need to recognise that.”
Channel companies, Pattie explained, approach their own offerings in this space from many different points of view – whether that’s a focus on video, the network, the PBX system, or desktop. Pattie added, “All of these types of businesses have different levels of experience. They’ve got different types of customers. They deliver their value in a particular way.”
Zoom recognises these nuances and has built a flexible channel that offers value to resellers, master agents, sub agents and carriers. Pattie said, “Irrespective of what type of business you are, how big or how small, how you deliver value, how you engage with your customers – we’ve got a programme that fits you. Building on from that, [channel companies] want to work with organisations they can trust. They want organisations that innovate at pace because that creates opportunity for them. They want to have the right kind of support so it’s easy to do business.
“That’s very much front and center of our thinking as we design and build out these channel programmes. And we look to welcoming people onto the rocket ship.”