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Nortel buyer updates channel program

Ciena Corp. has expanded its BizConnect channel program to make it easier to do business with

After its acquisition of Nortel’s Metro Ethernet Networks (MEN) business last year, Ciena Corp. has revamped its BizConnect channel program to help its partners drive more business.

Theresa Caragol, vice-president, global alliances and partners at Ciena, said before the acquisition of Nortel’s MEN business last year, the company primarily did business in North America and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Once the acquisition was complete, Ciena was able expand its sales activities to outside of those regions to become a truly global company.

With a channel base of about 200 partners around the world, including between 10 and 12 in Canada, Caragol said Ciena’s interested in growing its network further.

“We’re looking for a couple really good, strong partners in Canada that are regional in type and who focus on verticals like government, utilities and large enterprises,” she said. “Our target customers are mid-to large size enterprises that have high bandwidth requirements.”

Vinay Rathore, senior director for channel marketing at Ciena, said the enhancements to BizConnect are a result of the company’s organic partner growth in part because of the acquisition of Nortel’s MEN division.

“We’ve evolved our partner ecosystem and expanded the tools,” Rathore said. “The changes were based on the feedback we got from our partners who said they wanted us to make it easier to do business with and they wanted us to offer them different ways to go out, get business and be rewarded for doing so.”

Caragol said Ciena has turned BizConnect into a more value-based program which includes partner resources such as new vertical and solutions specializations, new pre-sales courses, an automated market development funds (MDF) tool, portals and more.

“We want partners to benefit no matter how big or small they are, regardless of how much revenue they generate,” Rathore said. “Our solution provider partners can get deal registration and access to level accelerators and our managed services partners can get access to service development plans, customized training and allocated marketing funds.”

In 2011, Caragol said the company’s goals are to drive its carrier Ethernet, switching and networking product lines and to announce at least one strategic alliance partner publically before the end of the year.

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