Ringside: Insider Interview with Mark Smith

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Mark Smith CMO Atos

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 focuses on Atos Unify and Mark Smith. Mark has been with Atos Unify for seven years across several roles. Prior to that, he worked across the digital and customer experience spaces at E.ON, Barclays, and Fasthosts Internet. Outside of work Mark enjoys building Lego and can often be found around a Barrys Bootcamp or cooking Mexican food.

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

At Atos Unify I am the Chief Marketing Officer responsible for our Global Marking, Communications, Portfolio, Go-To-Market, and Intelligence operations, as well as being the Program Director for Always/Future Ready, our group response to COVID-19. We cover a diverse set of routes to market, whether directly through the Atos group or indirectly through our large global channel partner community. Overall, we support the revenue Atos Unify generates over approximately 40 million users, whether in the cloud or on-premises. The thing I most love about my job is talking about how we can change workplaces and lives. I have been spending a lot of time with clients working out how we can help them back to work and keep them running safely in the time of COVID-19.

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

I have done a lot of thinking on this with several clients, across many industries. I think it is commonly accepted now that we are not going to see a mass return to the office for knowledge workers. Despite efforts in Europe, to varying degrees of success, the office for many is years away. Remote working has finally proved itself! In other industries we are going to see a mix of fortunes, with wide ranging impacts both because of the economic impact but also because of broader intersectional changes. I often talk about the intersection of Digital Work, Cyber Security, Automation and internet of things (IoT). Together this group of items are about to shift the way of working for many people and organisations, leading to changes in the post-pandemic economy.

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Restructuring a nation through technology: How UK businesses are facing a post-pandemic future Read the report

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

We have a saying in Atos Unify: “To know where we are going, we have to know where we have been.” We have been around over 170 years, our roots are in the founders of the Telegraph business in Werner Von Siemens, Guglielmo Marconi and the English Telegraph Company. The organisations which we have combined or been a part of are a who’s who of the most significant businesses of their time from the General Electric Company, Plessey, Marconi, ROLM, IBM, Siemens and of course today Atos. We have reinvented ourselves every 20 years since 1847, and we have always been an innovator from the pointer Telegraph, to computer telephony integration (CTI), to social media in OpenScape Contact Center. We chose RingCentral because they respected our history of innovation and had it within their own organisation. This is not about a Unify version of RingCentral Office. This is about a deep innovative partnership combining our history and local knowledge with the industry leading cloud product in the market.

Why do you think Unify Office by RingCentral is unique in the saturated UCaaS market?

Unify Office will be unique in its ability to bring together four things. I think of it a bit like a car. RingCentral supplies the industry leading chassis. Everything on top the chassis comes from Atos Unify and its partners. So first and foremost, our ‘glocal’ experience of the 93 countries we run in today, either directly or through our channel relationships, allows us to tailor Unify Office (UO) for those markets over the coming years, offering smooth migration paths for our customers and others as well. Second, our earned right to act as a trusted advisor in regard to communications and collaboration; where others are limited by their product portfolio, we are not. Third, our partners’ ability to combine communications and collaboration with the other applications in your workplace to become a true digital workplace. Finally, the ability as a system integrator to layer in added portfolio and customisations to suit businesses who need more than an off-the-shelf offer.

What is your advice for technology marketers and SaaS professionals launching products in this space today?

This is my fourth big launch in 10 years, so I have a lot to say on this topic. I will keep it short, though. Launching a new product is chaos, and that is OK, you must learn that especially on the marketing side that right up to launch day things are going to change. You must keep calm, expect chaos, and embrace it. The other thing I would say is that once upon a time day one was the single most important part of the journey. But today it is a crowded market, every day hundreds of products are launched. Success is a long game and takes a lot more graft day-in, day-out to achieve, if your day one does not bring you that first customer, it’s OK! They will come if you keep working for it. And the single most important piece of advice: do not be afraid to fail. I have failed and I learnt way more about success from failure than I would have ever done from instant success.

'The single most important piece of advice: do not be afraid to fail. I have failed and I learnt way more about success from failure than I would have ever done from instant success.' Mark Smith, CMO Atos Unify Click To Tweet

As we thank Mark for his time and his wisdom, we encourage you to look out for Unify Office by RingCentral, another exciting and promising partnership we’ve built in EMEA. For more information about it, visit the Unify website – you can’t miss it!

Thanks for reading, and look out for more episodes in this series of Ringside.

Restructuring a nation through technology: How UK businesses are facing a post-pandemic future

Originally published Sep 08, 2020, updated Jan 16, 2023

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