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Nortel Networks is rallying its channel to push beyond the boundaries of its traditional service provider focus into both the SMB segment and larger enterprises.
As part of his efforts to turn around the struggling telecommunications firm, President and CEO Mike Zafirovski has pledged to "change the trajectory" of Nortel's enterprise business, which also encompasses its SMB efforts. It's a promise the vendor is attempting to deliver through new partnerships in distribution and unified communications.
This week, Nortel plans to expand relationships with distributors Ingram Micro, Synnex and Westcon Group to broaden its reach into small and midsize businesses. The move follows the launch last month of a new portfolio of SMB networking products to accompany its SMB VoIP offerings.
The accelerated SMB push will also be fueled by a deep, four-year strategic alliance between Nortel and Microsoft in the unified communications space. That pact, revealed last week, covers joint product integration, research and development, and sales and marketing.
"We have said that we want to and must change the trajectory of our enterprise business, and this alliance is a dramatic proof point that we have committed to the enterprise market and remain determined to both grow it and to profit from it," Zafirovski said during a conference call to discuss the Nortel-Microsoft deal. The partnership is expected to bring Nortel $1 billion in new revenue through 2009 from professional services, voice products and applications, and pull-through of data products, he said.
On the distribution front, Nortel is tapping Ingram Micro, Synnex and Westcon to step up SMB partner recruitment, training and marketing, said Eric Schoch, vice president of North American marketing for channels and distribution at Nortel, Brampton, Ontario.
Nortel is committing to a fourfold increase in the personnel resources dedicated to the three distributors and, in return, they are bulking up on staff to support Nortel.
Fremont, Calif.-based Synnex, for example, has hired a dedicated team of sales, engineering and marketing staff to support the Nortel SMB push, while Ingram Micro, Santa Ana, Calif., is hiring two market development managers and beefing up on training and technical support personnel.