Newbridge Networks' recent announcements of major restructuring have caused a flurry of speculation, but network integrators believe the changes could have the potential to trigger new life for the vendor that has traditionally struggled to find a voice in the local market.
Merger talk has circulated for months, but intensified recently when the company announced it planned to carry out `significant restructuring' after releasing disappointing financial results for the second quarter of fiscal 2000.
However, Newbridge officials insist the impact of the financial results and restructuring will have little effect on the Australian market.
Newbridge Networks Australia's managing director, Paul Fraley, said it had a total business engagement model, and there was a solid place for the channel and other strategic partners. `As far as we're concerned, we're moving forward in our own right into the new millennium and looking for strategic partners to accelerate our growth.'
Fraley attributes the minor impact the restructuring will have in Australia on the growth in the market locally over the past couple of years. He cites recent research from analyst IDC, which found Australia was the largest WAN switch market in the Asia-Pacific region. Newbridge won orders from the transportation and utility sectors in the first half of 99 which grossed $US29 million, a 48 per cent revenue share of the local market, making it the leading supplier of WAN switches in Australia.
He said Newbridge had been talking with both the channel and end users to position changes that had to occur to make it more responsive and proactive in the marketplace.
Integrators contacted by ARN were upbeat about the impact of the restructuring, believing it would be positive for the channel.
Logical Networks' general manager, services and operations, Iain McGregor, believed the changes would strengthen its partnership with Newbridge, since the company would be using integrators such as themselves more frequently.
`I think we'll see Newbridge use more and more partnership arrangements with integrators to do their service delivery, so from where I'm sitting the news from Canada is pretty good.'
Getronics' national business development manager, Barry Wilson, believed Newbridge was concentrating on what it did well. `They have some great remote access products and that's the flavour out there at the moment - getting access to networks.'
Newbridge's South Pacific region general manager, strategic business development, Malcolm Roe, said the need for the company to have specialist partners was growing.
`The traditional network integrator of old who resold product and added maintenance services is struggling.'
Roe believed it was important for channel players to position themselves as complementary partners to either the larger carriers or service providers or add value to system integrators.
`Gone are the days when an integrator, or a carrier for that matter, owns a customer - it's about partnerships that provide solutions that customers are after.'
Roe added that he believes the channel has a very large role to play in the SME market. `It's fertile ground for the reseller community.'