#20 Newsmaker: Theresa Caragol of Ciena Corp.

Nearly two years after winning the bidding for Nortel Networks’ Metro Ethernet Networks business, networking vendor Ciena Corp. is moving aggressively to market with a new channel program and technology roadmap.

Ciena and Theresa Caragol, the vendor’s vice-president of global alliances and partners, revamped its BizConnect channel program in January to help partners drive more business. It turned BizConnect into a more value-based program with partner resources such as new vertical and solutions specializations, pre-sales courses, an automated market development funds tool and portals.

Related story: Ciena taking next steps after Nortel metro acquisition

Ciena recruited new partners and rationalized others as it combined the Nortel and Ciena partner bases. Today Ciena has about 150 partners, including 10 to 12 in Canada.

“We’re focused on getting partners to be more self-sufficient, and empowering them to close deals with deal registration and drive as much as they can on their own, without us,” said Caragol. “We launched deal registration in January and we’ve already seen a ton of business registered.”

Channel partners gathered in Ottawa this fall for a partner conference and Ciena also launched its Champions program, which sees partners earn points for their engagement with the vendor in a variety of categories. Caragol said top partners were invited to the Ottawa conference at Ciena’s expense, and given special access to company executives.

Ciena is also bringing carrier and enterprise customers to its Ottawa research and development lab for its annual Vectors Summit to get a look at how integrating technologies of the two companies has panned out.

Merging Nortel’s business systems into Ciena’s is done, product lines have been rationalized and the first steps have been taken in integrating Nortel and Ciena technologies into each other’s products. Still to come, however, is stitching together their network management software into a unified platform.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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