Nortel Puts Partners On SMB Fast Track

Nortel is rolling out a new fast-track accreditation program for new and current SMB channel partners that want to sell the vendor's Business Communication Manager (BCM) 50 IP communications system. The program comes in response to partner requests to lower the barrier of entry to the VoIP product line, said Net Payne, vice president of North American enterprise marketing at Nortel, Brampton, Ontario.

The fast-track accreditation program cuts the costs by more than 50 percent vs. the full training and certification offering, Payne said. Since some content has been left out to simplify the process, partners who achieve the fast-track certification will be restricted from working with some high-end applications, such as contact center offerings, he said.

Nortel also launched several new SMB product bundles for partners to resell. The bundles include IP telephony packages that combine VoIP and data products for eight or 16 users; digital voice packages in configurations for four, eight and 16 users; and one data bundle that includes Nortel's recently launched line of SMB switches, routers and wireless access points. End-user prices for the bundles range from $3,000 to $15,000.

With the new programs and product offerings, Nortel aims to simplify the way it does business with partners, according to Payne. "Our goal is to make it as simple as possible for our resellers to work with Nortel," he said.

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In addition to its new SMB data portfolio, unveiled in June, Nortel also in recent months has inked expanded partnerships with several distributors to target the SMB market and launched IPT 1-2-3, an initiative that encourages channel partners to migrate their legacy Nortel voice customers to VoIP.