SMB a new focus for Nortel

SMB a new focus for Nortel

Nortel Networks wants to strengthen ties with partners in a bid to further drive IP telephony into the enterprise and go full throttle for the SMB market. The company delivered its key messages to partners at its annual CXO Forum in Malaysia.

"Converged networks are here and many enterprises are deploying VoIP solutions," vice-president and general manager of multimedia applications, Roxann Swanson, said. "They want the expertise of a partner that can tailor the converged application to specific business needs."

Swanson highlighted demand for Web collaboration and unified communications as drivers of the IP telephony push.

Nortel Asia-Pacific president and general manager of enterprise networks, Rick Seeto, said SMB was a new area of focus for the company.

"We have always set our sights on the high-end enterprise, but we now have a range of capabilities suited to the smaller players," he said. "We're going to push hard into this space.

"We plan to deliver a number of products and build a strategy for the channel. We're looking at coverage, type of channel and distribution." He also urged partners to focus on emerging technologies such as IPTV and WiMax. Ethernet switching, mobility and multimedia communication applications would be other top areas of focus in the year ahead.

While forum attendees were informed of latest solutions and services, the company also highlighted its message of change. Seeto said it had been guilty of trying to be too many things to too many people.

The new game plan involves improving internal business processes to make it easier for partners to work with Nortel, eliminating decision-making complexity and ironing out issues with product quality.

"The internal pace of the company has shifted up five notches," Seeto said. "There's a change in our rhythm and the way we work with partners. We are transforming and it's an exciting ride."

During the past year, the company has made a number of executive appointments including a new chief strategy officer, corporate operations chief and marketing officer.

LAN Systems' general manager, Wendy O'Keeffe, is impressed by the change of attitude and open-door approach to business.

"There's a new level of energy from local management and a willingness to engage," she said. "For the first time, Nortel is reaching out and asking us what can be done to help us grow our businesses. It's a much more transparent approach."

- Jennifer O'Brien travelled to Malaysia as a guest of Nortel.

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