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Nortel fosters strategy to attack SMB market

In a bid to help its VARs sell IP-based solutions to small and medium-sized companies, Nortel Networks has created bundled packages around one of its telephony servers

With the strategy it also hopes to simplify the transition for customers to converged solutions.

After surveying SMB customers about the most typical configurations of its products, Nortel said it discovered these companies are more likely to adopt IP telephony technologies in an evolutionary rather than revolutionary way.

Smaller businesses prefer to be on a slower pace when acquiring technology, said Mike Segura, director of SMB solutions marketing at Nortel. “They want some type of path to move forward rather than receiving technology all at once.”

To meet that need, “we’ve developed pre-defined packages to simplify the way resellers position our solutions to the end customer. It also allows partners an easy way to create a budgetary quote and place an order,” said Diane Guthmann, leader of SMB solutions marketing at Nortel.

The new voice and data packages are designed around the Business Communication Manager (BCM) 50 product, which Nortel introduced 18 months ago.

The bundled solutions include two IPT packages, three voice-centric packages and one data package.

The two IPT packages, which Guthmann said could be bundled with Nortel’s new SMB data portfolio, include IP trunks, stations, voice mail, unified messaging and IP telephones. The solution is available in an eight- or 16-user configuration.

The three voice-centric packages, for four, eight or 16 users, are designed for small businesses looking for an advanced digital communication solution. The bundles include digital trunks, stations, digital phones, voice mail and unified messaging.

The data-only package includes Nortel’s new Business Ethernet Switch 100, the Business Access Point 120 and the Business Secure Router 222. The data solution can be added to one of the three voice-centric packages or be sold alone.

New accreditation

To help bolster time to market and sales of the new packages, Nortel is also introducing a streamlined fast-track accreditation program for new and existing channel partners.

“We put together an accreditation program that focuses on the basics of the BCM 50 and its applications, which will allow a reseller new to Nortel’s portfolio or an existing reseller who has a new sales rep get trained more quickly,” said Guthmann. The cost of the program, she added, has been reduced from the previous BCM 50 accreditation of US$12,000 to about US$5,000. In addition, training classes can now be completed in two days instead of five.

According to Ken Presti, channel strategy analyst at Presti Research and Consulting in San Jose, Calif., many vendors are making an effort to create “ease-of-use” type of programs. He added that while it’s important that companies are frequently trying to deliver more sophisticated apps and benefits to smaller companies, “they have do so in a way that is palatable for end users.” |