New division focuses on enterprise networking

New division focuses on enterprise networking

Lucent finally has a dedicated enterprise networking division to call its very own. The communications equipment giant last week split off its campus and WAN-access product families from the sprawling data-products group and merged them with Lucent's voice product lines into a single entity called Lucent Enterprise Networks.

Lucent's old data products group had been dominated by hot-selling, carrier-class ATM, IP switching and access-concentration products. This led to less visibility for Lucent's Gigabit Ethernet and ATM workgroup products, which the company acquired via acquisitions.

Now those enterprise products - including the Cajun line of Ethernet switches and ATM multifunction switches, and the Pipeline routers that Lucent acquired when it bought Ascend Communications - will join Lucent's hugely popular PBX and call-centre products in one organisation aimed squarely at corporate nets.

Lucent Enterprise Networks will now undertake major, coordinated initiatives in reseller recruitment and training, global direct marketing, and electronic commerce, in an effort to topple Cisco and Nortel Networks from their perches in corporate market share, says Bill O'Shea, the unit's new executive vice president.

Independent resellers of the Pipeline, Cajun, Systimax cabling and telephony products will be brought together `into a single indirect channel reporting to me', O'Shea said.

A large training budget will ensure the resellers will be able to cross-sell products `much better than we have in the past'. On the direct sales side, former BCS sales reps will be given quotas to produce sales leads for the firm's data products.

Part of the goal is to present a more consistent challenge to Cisco on complex corporate-network requests for proposal, according to O'Shea. Lucent's data-marketing executives have complained that Cisco targets Lucent bids for campus product installations and deliberately undercuts them to deny Lucent a foothold. According to O'Shea, that's not surprising when Lucent's market shares are in the `single or low double digits', adding: `If we're meeting Cisco in only one out of 10 opportunities, it's easy for them to lowball that one.'

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