Ciena Launches Government Subsidiary

Following in the footsteps of other vendors that see the potential of special treatment for government customers, Ciena launched a government subsidiary today -- stressing reliance on the channel for providing sector-specific expertise.

Already, Ciena does work with the Department of Defense, civilian agencies and the intelligence community; Ciena Government Solutions Inc. (CGSI) will simply consolidate a portion of engineering, support and professional-service resources for the government business, allowing the segment's specific communications requirements to be addressed. Rob Rice, former vice president of federal sales at 3Com, will be managing director of CGSI. The company announced a government advisory board consisting of people from both the public and private sector, and expects a GSA Schedule to be completed this week.

"This certainly will provide more value to our government customers," Rice says. "They will have a team that is completely dedicated to what they're doing. We expect to be experts in their field."

To help develop that expertise, Ciena will rely greatly on partners -- both VARs like Presidio, and large systems integrators, such as Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Unisys.

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"We're trying to align so that we're easy to do business with and can talk the same language," Rice says. "We need a commonality between groups in order to go forward in pursuing this type of business."