Nortel heads off services worries

Nortel heads off services worries

Nortel Networks moved to allay potential worries of SME channel partners that it will divert business from the channel after releasing details of preliminary discussions with leading services providers.

Diane Guthmann, Nortel Networks' business partners program manager, said Asia-Pacific resellers will not find themselves competing with high-end services providers this year once the company completes partnership discussions with leading services providers.

Tony Yuen, Nortel Networks' senior VP, new market developments, said the company is looking to forge new partnerships with companies such as CSC, EDS and IBM GSA to bolster its services arm.

"[Our services business] is not sufficient, we would need to partner with the big boys," he said.

He explained the company's small services outfit is needed to integrate a range of IP-based voice and data networking solutions with end users.

However, Guthmann rejected ARN suggestions that a new services partnership will affect existing regional channel partners.

"The accounts and business they go after are so unique I think the likelihood of one of our typical regional resellers being affected is minimal," she said. "I don't necessarily see there is going to be a conflict."

Guthmann added that regional resell-ers will continue to focus primarily on the SME and enterprise markets over the next 12 months, reporting large services contracts are not typically part of the resellers' core business.

Nortel Networks' distributors include Express Data and Westcon in Australia and Express Data in New Zealand.

Its Australian integrators include Com Tech, Anite, NetStar, Compaq, Unisys, Alpha West and Data#3.

Nortel receives around 80 per cent of its revenue from channel partners.

News of Nortel Networks' move to bolster its services arm follows the launch of its SME "networking reseller" program last week.

Designed as an extension to its existing Business Partner Program, the networking reseller program offers resellers and VARs with sub-500 employee customer bases additional training, marketing and sales support.

Mark Jones visited the US as a guest of Nortel Networks.

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