Nortel and Avaya partners get ready for vendor union

Nortel and Avaya partners get ready for vendor union

Partners for Nortel and Avaya are bringing on new staff and realigning their business models in preparation for the vendors’ marriage.

Partners for Nortel and Avaya are bringing on new staff and realigning their business models in preparation for the vendors’ marriage.

Last week, Avaya won a bidding process to acquire Nortel’s enterprise business after the latter sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January. The sale, expected to close later this year, is subject to court and regulatory approvals in multiple countries.

Nortel partner 3D Networks, CEO, Rod Taylor, said the reseller, which started out as the vendor’s retail arm in Australia, was well advanced to becoming an Avaya partner and was developing a more consultative-oriented approach in expectation of the vendors’ integration.

“We’ve gone through a significant refresh of our sales team to become more agnostic with the skill sets of the people we put in place,” he said. “We are also changing the ratio of our sales to pre-sales teams and the reason for that is, as we move to being a more agnostic provider of product, we need to have more consultative skills at the front-end. We’ve recently hired a number of individuals with skills in both disciplines.”

The reseller’s decision to bring on 12 additional staff in the past 10 weeks was a move other associated resellers have also taken. Managing director at Avaya gold business partner GlobalConnect, Pushkar Taneja, said it had started training its engineers and been approached by several individuals offering up their Nortel skills.

“There will be some specific areas where we will need to have trained individuals who either come onboard or we train from scratch,” Taneja said. “That investment at a very high level has already started.” Integrator and Avaya partner, NSC, made a decision to join forces with Nortel roughly four months ago and has since employed seven Nortel staff, taking its total headcount across the unifi ed communications space to 160.

“There are a lot of very good people in both camps and I think bringing those people together here in Australia is going to be fantastic,” NSC managing director, Craig Neil, said. A roadmap for the combined entity is not expected to become available until the sale gets final approval in December. However, general manager of communications solutions group for Avaya partner Fredon, Gerald Lipman, and general manager at Nortel partner Gen-i, Phil Varney, said there were many complementary aspects generating excitement in the partner community. The challenge now, particularly for Nortel, is to see what they can do to leap frog Microsoft and Cisco in the unified communications space.

“There is a lot of loyalty out there but it has been stretched,” Varney said. “What they have to do now is come back fighting.”

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