Alcatel-Lucent is working on integrating channel programs for partners on both sides of the organisation.
General manager of the Enterprise Business Group, Mark Buckley, said the introduction of Lucent products and Bell Labs' R&D this year had opened up its portfolio. The challenge now was to bring partners into a combined channel model.
Alcatel and Lucent merged under a $US13.4 billion deal last year. While Alcatel has a structured program including master distributors [IPL and VExpress], accredited reseller tiers and top-tier premium partners, Lucent's channel was more opportunistic, he said. Its legacy partners include Frontline Systems, NSC and IBM Global Services.
"On the Alcatel side we have 110 partners. With Lucent, they had a lot of carrier sales as well as a handful of partners in the enterprise space," Buckley said. "Some partners are different and some are similar. The challenge in bringing them together is that some had access to all products, while others could only access some.
"Another big challenge is who to work with for Lucent products as they are high-end. We also need to work out go-tomarkets for Bell Labs technology and look at new partners." Buckley said the vendor had established a Global Channel Competency Centre in its Paris headquarters to improve business partner programs.
"We have brought our voice and data programs together: now we're working on the Lucent component and having one online billing system, credit systems, supply chain and the back-end in place," he said.
In May, Alcatel-Lucent announced its all-in-one communications portfolio for SMB along with a new reseller training and certification program.
"We have just put in our SMB program to make certifications easier for partners. We're starting to put similar programs in place for mid-market and enterprise partners," Buckley said.
One initiative is a simplified quoting tool which determines the right product suite for customers based on key user profiles like executive, attendant or mobile sales force, Buckley said.
"We're also working on developing quotes by vertical, with the first being healthcare and finance, as well as by usage," he said. "This means partners won't have to rely on a pre-sales engineer, but have a quoting tool that links into those [configuration] systems if they need to customise product."
The tool will be available in coming months.
Alcatel-Lucent would also start structuring training around the user profiles, pre-sales and market definitions, Buckley said.