In a decisive thrust aimed at carving a slice of the growing SME workgroup switch market, Xylan has launched a joint initiative with LAN Systems, offering two new products and a number of programs specifically designed for small-to-medium enterprise network solutions.
The initiative, announced last week, parries other networking vendors' forays last year into capturing the SME market through sweeping promotions and major investments, claims David Keane, managing director, Xylan Australia-New Zealand.
Keane claims Xylan was given the opportunity to learn from the issues presented to other vendors and has adopted a more focused approach.
Xylan hopes to win market share through leveraging existing relationships between resellers and SMEs, add value to reseller/end-user transactions and through this build brand recognition and loyalty, claimed Keane.
"Rather than go out and say we're going to capture half the SME market share in the next three months, we're going to be focused and set realistic targets - win by stealth," he said.
Nick Verykios, chief marketing officer of LAN Systems, claims the initiative was driven by end-user needs as the "SME market has been quite slow in adopting networking technology in the past".
"The object was to take the same functionality of our enterprise products, by using the same core technology, and box it for the SME market," Keane said.
Verykios said LAN Systems needed the technology to provide whole networking solutions for prime contractors to take to the SME market.
As a result, the strategy will see Xylan introduce a low-cost workgroup switch - the OmniStack 4024 priced at $2950-4900, depending on the desired port capabilities, and the OmniStack 5024 - a complete switch for small-to-mid-sized networks priced at $5995, to the market.
LAN Systems has come to the party offering resellers two special Xylan promotions. These include free Xylan Technical Certification training with every purchase of Xylan switches worth more than $30,000 and a special OmniStack 4024 pricing 15 per cent lower than competitive Cisco, 3Com or Nortel products.
Furthermore, LAN Systems will host a series of product training seminars in Q1 for its nationwide network of 600-plus resellers to introduce the Xylan technology to smaller, second-tier resellers.
The OmniStack product range when "coupled with our own channel service programs, is an easy sell", Verykios said.
While enterprise remains Xylan's bread and butter, Keane recognises the importance of the SME market, indicating that in 1999, it's likely to account for 25 per cent of Xylan's business. This is up from last year, which saw the SME market accounting for less than 10 per cent of total business.