Telstra has extended the availability of its Internetwork Management Service for outsourced WANs through a sales agreement with network integrator Anite Networks (formerly Cray Communications).
The IMS, which had been available exclusively through Telstra since March, offers the opportunity for organisations to outsource the management of SNMP devices on their WAN primary routers. The agreement allows Anite to resell and install the IMS, as well as provide pre- and post-sales support to IMS customers.
While Telstra will continue to resell the service, Anite general manager Ian Fewtrell says customers will see many benefits in dealing with Anite. "The customer can see what Telstra has already recognised, and that is that Telstra is very good at managing this stuff and selling the bandwidth, but we are very good at network design, and very good at implementing communications hardware effectively and linking on to their services. Combined, we're unbeatable."
Fewtrell says Anite has an extensive history of selling other Telstra services, and was setting up its own competitive service prior to the deal with Telstra. He added that Anite will also partner with Telstra in providing installation support and other services for that company's sales.
As well as providing 24 hour pro-active support, the IMS also provides a single point of contact for users using Telstra's ATM and Frame Relay transmission offerings. Telstra currently has two operation centres for monitoring and diagnosing faults in Sydney and Perth, which will combine with Anite's own Action Centre for servicing its clients.
Telstra's IMS product manager, George Lioukas, says the IMS is targeted at WANs of all sizes, and can produce considerable cost savings for customers. "We looked at how much it costs an organisation to manage a network on its own, and what we are claiming through IMS is a cost saving of around 50 per cent. That includes the cost of networking staff such as salaries and space they would occupy and networking equipment that would be required."
Lioukas sees two main customer sets. "It's the small to mid-range companies, that don't have the experience to do it on their own, that are establishing a new network and don't want to acquire that expertise because they don't see that as being their core business anyway. Plus there are other larger companies that have been managing networks on their own and are now looking to outsourcing."
While Telstra has been selling the IMS since March, Lioukas expects the signing of Anite will open up significant new opportunities, both from within Anite's own client base and in attracting new sales. "Organisations like Anite have a long experience in the IT industry. They have networking staff and salespeople who have had experience in the industry, and we're looking at leveraging from that in making additional IMS sales."
Lioukas says this arrangement is not exclusive, and other resellers may be appointed. "What we're looking to do is partner with best-of-breed companies that have experience in the IT industry, and have strong network integration skills. That's why we're partnering with Anite, because they have those skills. By combining Anite's skills and their experience in the IT industry with Telstra's network management skills we believe we can offer something that is quite superior, to address the growing client/server WAN market."
Fewtrell said at this point in time Anite is unique in its relationship with Telstra, and may continue some level of direct support and main-tenance for Telstra's sales in the event of it appointing other resellers.