Ringside: Insider Interview with Simon Skellon

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Simon Skellon

Welcome back to Ringside. Besides our own leading lights, this series invites insights from business leaders beyond our walls. In partnering with others to help create the future of work, we’re curious to uncover a broader perspective on business communications. This episode welcomes Simon Skellon from Atos, a leading global provider of digital IT solutions.

Simon has been with Atos for three years. Prior to this, he was with one of Atos Unify’s biggest competitors, Mitel Networks, for many years running their UK&I and Sub-Saharan Africa business. Among Simon’s many qualifications for his current role is the fact that his favourite food is cheese and in particular Saint Agur – which is appropriate given his affiliation with a French organisation – accompanied with a nice glass of port and some good company.

Speaking of good company, Atos’ key ambition, as stated by CEO Elie Girard, is to become the leader in de-carbonised digital within the next few years, so this is an excellent opportunity to listen closely to what Simon says.

Simon, what’s your role at Atos and what do you love about your job?

My role is global Chief Sales Officer, running the $1B sales business for Atos UCC, covering all countries and regions globally and with offices in over 60 countries, which once upon a time before COVID-19 I used to visit regularly. Now I visit these countries and offices only virtually, using Unify Office (Atos’ flavour of RingCentral Video). The solutions we provide to our customers are the full range of unified communications and collaboration (UC&C), all with the desired outcome of improving a company’s productivity, efficiency and ultimately profitability.

What are your thoughts on the post-pandemic economy and how businesses can survive or thrive?

Firstly, we are far from a post-pandemic economy and are very much in the middle of the pandemic in most regions worldwide. However, like the opinions of a lot of industry analysts and my vendor peers, I believe the working world has changed forever and quite frankly the 60 flights I did last year visiting my colleagues in other countries and regions will be dramatically reduced moving forward as video, UC and collaboration has become the norm for meetings and people have realised that working from home and/or flexibly is achievable, desirable and productive. Businesses will survive these unprecedented times by completely restructuring their working practices and perhaps their go-to-market model and thinking outside the box to address their customers’ needs, as whilst customers requirements may have shifted, may have changed, they still have a need and this has to be satisfied and will be by someone.

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Why did Atos choose RingCentral as their technology partner of choice for the evolution of the Unify brand? 

I was part of the team that selected RingCentral for Atos’ unified communications as a service (UCaaS) solution. We did a deep analysis of the market and the players in this space and RingCentral ticked all of the boxes that we required from a technical perspective, but what really sold RingCentral to me were the people, the engagement and the ‘can do/will do’ attitude of the team. There genuinely is no hurdle that cannot be overcome and Unify Office by RingCentral is a welcome addition to the Atos solution portfolio and one we believe will become a powerful brand solution in the market.

Why do you think Unify Office by RingCentral is unique in the over-cluttered UCaaS market? 

Firstly, I would not say that the UCaaS market is over-cluttered. There are a lot of players who profess to deliver a UCaaS solution but very few that do this in its entirety. When you look at complete UCaaS solution players there are only a handful. Unify Office is unique in the market because on top of all of the RingCentral UCaaS solution of easy to deploy, work from anywhere, 99.999% reliability, global reach, best in class integrations etc., Atos offers vertical market propositions, industry specific solutions, real hybrid cloud solutions, data protection expertise, cyber security, genuine market leading consultancy (both technical and commercial) and importantly peace of mind by partnering with a global leading digital solution provider with huge heritage and experience in the market.

What is your advice for technology leaders and CIOs in this space today?

Explore the business communications market outside of your incumbent provider as the array of solutions and opportunities available today to improve the operational efficiency of your business are there, no matter how unique you believe your set of circumstances are. Be brave, be inquisitive, be interested as the working world has changed, and we can make it a change for the better.

Be brave, be inquisitive, be interested as the working world has changed, and we can make it a change for the better. – Simon Skellon, Atos UCC Click To Tweet

Many thanks to Simon for his valuable perspective on the business communications landscape. Here’s a simple overview of RingCentral’s partnership with Atos:

And remember: to get more expert insights on UCaaS, the cloud, and improving communication and collaboration in the new workscape, keep looking out for new episodes of Ringside.

What else do leaders need to deliver in preparing their businesses for the new world of work?

Originally published Nov 27, 2020, updated Jan 16, 2023

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