Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise gears for growth following China Huaxin takeover

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise gears for growth following China Huaxin takeover

Australian hiring drive increases headcount by 30 per cent

Alcatel Lucent Enterprise is making aggressive push for growth in the Australian market following China Huaxin Post & Telecommunication's buyout of the company in October last year.

In the six months since Alcatel-Lucent Group sold its enterprise business unit to China Huaxin for $US255.58 million, it has doubled its channel presence in Australia and increased its staff by 30 per cent.

The Chinese investment firm now owns an 85 per cent stake in the company, while Alcatel-Lucent Group still holds 15 per cent.

While under the control of French parent Alcatel-Lucent, the enterprise unit was a profitable business in an unprofitable group.

Under its new owner Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise is now being geared for growth and it's looking to double its revenue and size over the next five years.

Alcatel-Lucent channel sales director, Chris Downes, said the company had a big year ahead after a fair bit of change.

"Broadly, instead of being managed for cash, which we might have been done previously under the previous Alcatel-Lucent, we are actually now being managed for growth which is really good," he said.

"What it has given us is a real ability to grow now. A lot of the investments that are being made, are being driven around the growth of our revenue. The company's looking to double in size in terms of its top line over the next five years."

The new entity was also recently appointed one of China Telecom's three network suppliers to deploy the telco's LTE mobile ultra-broadband access network in 40 cities, including Shanghai, Hunnan, and Jiangxi.

According to Downes, the structure of the company has not changed. It is still headquartered in France, with research and development in both France and the US.

"From a ground level, from a sales and from a channel customer level there really hasn't been much impact," he said. "What we have seen is the ability hire some new people."

He said the company had taken on new sales marketing, business development and channel teams over the last six months, which was giving the company more impact with partners and customers in the field in Australia.

"We have doubled our channel presence in Australia and New Zealand. We have also added 20 per cent to our frontline sales people who are supporting customers with our partners.

"That has been replicated across most of the regions in terms of that ramp up.

Downes said the company still had a very strong brand, a good install base, customers across all horizontals, and some key verticals such as healthcare, tertiary education, federal government and hospitality.

"So we are leveraging that install base. From an SMB perspective we are really getting much closer to our indirect resellers," he said.

"We have go probably 150 indirect resellers in Australia that focus on the SMB market and we are putting in partners account managers to work directly with them and really drive growth in that SMB market.

"So a lot of its around presence, being present with them and offering new programs and new promotion which will drive growth in the SMB market.

He said the company was also a lot more open than it had been in the past to co-investing for growth and transformation with partners.

"We are looking at new business models and growth opportunities where we can co-invest with partners," he said.

"We are ramping up the support and the number of Telstra business partners we have got to serve the small and medium market through our distribution partner VExpress."

For larger enterprises the company has partnered with UXC Connect, Nexon and VOIP, who are strong in its core verticals of healthcare, hospitality, tertiary education and government.

Downes said the company was focused on supporting partners on joint account selling.

"We are beefing up our sales teams to provide more outcome-based solutions for our customers and partners," he said.

The company recently delivered a Cloud communications solution for ACCOR's IBIS Adelaide hotel.

Other recent customers include NSW Health, where partner VOIP helped deliver converged solutions for a number of hospitals.

This included all of the core network, plus all of the voice, applications that go on top of that network, (wired, wireless and integration into their processes) according to Downes.

From a network and infrastructure perspective the company was focused on what it calls call the "converged campus".

Downs said this meant delivering a high quality user experience across both wired and wireless networks as simply as possible for IT.

"We are really focused on the mid-market on delivering flexible Cloud options for our partners and customers," he said.

"We're not developing our own platform because we recognise that each partner and each customer has slightly different requirements so we are working with key patners, such as UXC Connect, to build flexible Cloud communications platforms that can deliver on public infrastructure or in a private cloud for government or enterprises."

The company has recorded 20-30 per cent growth year-to-date.

Downes said the company was focused on doubling revenue within five years.

"We're on a trajectory where we have increased headcount in Australia by around 30 per cent and we are really looking to grow year on year at that sort of rate," he said

"We are looking to certainly grow our partners in the SMB space and re-engage some perhaps that have drifted away over the last two or three years to other vendors."

"We will be looking at new potential partners and service providers to leverage Cloud communications for the mid-market.

"At the enterprise level, We are driving opportunities through our direct sales teams and working with large integrators as those new opportunities come up in our key verticals."

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Tags Alcatel-Lucent EnterpriseChina Huaxin Post & TelecommunicationChris Downes

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