Transformation at Technicolor: Crucial Moments with Polycom Managed Services

At a Glance

  • Savings on travel costs
  • Increased innovation and productivity
  • Enhanced team collaboration experience

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Technicolor is no stranger to transformation. In fact, the ‘architects of amazement’ are initiators of it. Beginning 100 years ago when it transformed cinema by bringing color to film, Technicolor continues to astonish audiences with immersive experiences.

As with any innovative initiative, when Ginny Davis, CIO and Chief Security Officer at Technicolor, engaged with Polycom in 2009, it wasn’t always a smooth ride. But the results speak volumes of what happens when two companies work together to make great things happen. How did this engagement take a 180 degree turn? How did it begin in struggle but get to the point where CEO Fred Rose uses video conferencing for nearly every meeting?

A rocky transition
Any tech company that claims to be perfect in each product implementation probably has a selective memory. Innovation and speed to market comes with its risks—sometimes things just don’t work out the first time. And while not all technology growing pains reach the crisis level of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 catching fire, they are pivotal moments in a company’s relationship with customers. These crucial moments push companies to show their true colors, and ultimately determine whether the relationship fails or flourishes.

In transitioning from HP Halo Rooms to Polycom immersive telepresence rooms, the Technicolor team found that the Microsoft Lync-Polycom solutions workflow was different from they were used to, and Polycom® Touch Control presented a number of glitches. For a company whose executive team depends largely on video technology to conduct international meetings, even minor glitches are unacceptable. The advantages of the Polycom equipment—accommodating more people on each call, and having mute and volume control at their fingertips—were there, but Technicolor required more support from Polycom to make the technology work for them.

Making things right
Bob Mickolsz, Senior Director of Polycom Managed Services, stepped in to make things right. Entrenching video conferencing into company culture is contingent on solid support. Technicolor engaged Polycom to provide the day-today management of technology operations (managed services). Outsourcing support operations to Polycom improved Technicolor’s conferencing processes and capabilities, while quickly detecting threats to Technicolor’s infrastructure. Additionally, Davis’ and Mickolsz’s approach included:

• Polycom conducted shadow calls with Technicolor to pinpoint the problems as they occurred and assisted with launching calls. Extra training gave Technicolor staff the practice they needed to get so familiar with the new workflow that it became second nature to them.
• A network assessment indicated that Technicolor’s large network was struggling to accommodate activities occurring simultaneously. For instance, there’d be a site running a large SAP job at the same time Technicolor team was conducting a video conference on the same line. A dedicated network for video conferencing helped clear the interferences that previously ate up bandwidth.
• Forging an alliance in which honesty goes two ways. Davis and Mickolsz honor a mutual code of transparency with the singular goal of getting the job done. Mickolsz is able to express when the problem is on the Technicolor side; and Davis appreciates when Mickolsz is forthcoming when the problem is on the Polycom side. The result is that problems quickly get resolved.

Measuring success
Technicolor’s current environment shows substantial usage of Polycom video collaboration solutions in people’s daily work lives—one KPI that Davis uses to determine success of the technology. The other KPI is responsiveness from the Polycom team. “They react, respond, come back with a root cause, and fix it,” Davis states. “Success is having a partner I can count on.”

As Chief Security Officer, Davis ensures enterprise-level security for the Technicolor information network, a task that includes safeguarding precious intellectual property housed on the company’s network. “Granting Polycom connectivity within the Technicolor parameter is very telling of the trust we have in Polycom.”

Like a secret weapon

Ginny Davis reflects on Technicolor’s current ability to collaborate in real time whether via video desktop sharing or editing presentations online as her team works on something together. “Polycom is an incredibly powerful tool in increasing innovation across the group while reducing travel. It increases productivity, promotes work-life balance, and has been a cost savings. It’s almost like a secret weapon,” says Davis.

If there’s a board meeting in New York in which Los Angeles-based Davis must present for an hour, it makes no sense to take a flight across the country and leave her three-year-old daughter for a full day. Having the support of her CEO who has asked, “Why don’t you just use the great technology you’ve put in place to do the meeting?” provides much relief. “Multiply that sigh of relief by thousands of other employees who have had the same conversations about presenting to the investment committee, or management committee, or whatever committee,” Davis says. Indeed, these conversations happen routinely, and on an international level, as Technicolor’s headquarters is in Paris, France. Fly to France or get up early to take the call by video? Travel cost savings indeed!

Team bonding
Technicolor teammates from afar bond regularly over video. Cross-functional teams in Hollywood, Paris and Bangalore Production Services and Visual Effects team use video conferencing to collaborate weekly about production. “So it will be morning bagels in Bangalore and snacks in Hollywood, talking together as if they’re in one room. It’s a fantastic collaborative experience,” Davis says.

Colorful characters, such as Tim Sarnoff, President of Production Services, draws laughter from colleagues by getting so closely to the camera that the far end sees only a close-up of his face. It’s as if the team is in the same room when joking with colleagues in Paris, Los Angeles, and Texas, each on different devices. Davis reflects fondly on the time shortly after she had her daughter, she showed photos of her newborn on camera and opened baby gifts in front of the people in France who had gifted them.

Collaboration partners
After turning the corner with its relationship with Polycom, Davis opened up a special experience for Mickolsz’s Polycom team. Because Technicolor only buys the type of services it needs for the various rooms, Davis arranged a small tradeshow environment in which Polycom could meet all 52 member firms, unveil new technology, and converse with key players on how to maximize collaboration specific to each of the rooms. Mickolsz says, “The spirit of this relationship is really forward-looking. Polycom is playing a big role in Technicolor’s long-range collaboration plan.”

Both Technicolor and Polycom are all about the experience—whether it’s for employees, audiences or end users. Perhaps the passion for building amazing experiences is what enabled the Polycom-Technicolor team to make this transformation happen in a most brilliantly colorful way. And those crucial moments that can make or break a business relationship? Davis and Mickolsz affectionately refer to them as “tender moments.”

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