Nortel Gives Partners New Voice In Managed Services

The vendor plans to debut its Proactive Voice Quality Management service next month and will follow up a few months later with managed security offerings, said Jeffrey Hitchman, director of global services for enterprise marketing at Nortel, Brampton, Ontario.

The voice service, which incorporates VoIP management technology from NetIQ, will offer remote monitoring and management of Nortel VoIP environments, providing network health checks, proactive identification of performance degradation and closed-loop monitoring of IP calls, Hitchman said.

Security services, including a managed VPN offering, are planned for May or June.

"We have lots of large partners with big services infrastructure, but for small to medium partners that want to participate but can't make the investment [in infrastructure], we like to provide a bridge to sell Nortel services under their own name until they build their own," Hitchman said.

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Nortel will provide level two and three support, while partners will field customers' first calls, he added. Stuart Chandler, president and CEO of Optivor Technologies, Jessup, Md., said the services will supplement the solution provider's managed services offering.

"Predominantly we would use our own services, but managed services from Nortel could come into play for high-level [service-level agreements] when we as a dealer don't want to take on the risk," Chandler said. In other instances, Optivor might tap Nortel to provide monitoring outside of business hours, he said.

Still, not all customers are open to purchasing managed services for their VoIP environments, said Rob Finucan, president of Combat Networks, a solution provider in Nepean, Ontario. "Communications is critical, and they want to handle it themselves," Finucan said of some of Combat's larger government and financial customers. Smaller customers, such as school districts, are a more likely target, he said.

Nortel joins rivals Avaya and Cisco Systems in entering the VoIP services fray.