Reorganized Nortel Focuses On Enterprise

The networking equipment vendor's new enterprise will focus on product development and sales of traditional and IP voice gear.
Nortel recently reorganized, creating an enterprise business group that focuses on product development and sales of traditional and IP voice gear, as well as Layer 2 through Layer 7 switches, firewalls, and VPN equipment, Malcolm Collins, newly appointed president of Global Enterprise Business, said at this week's VoiceCon conference. Moving forward, he hinted that the vendor would be announcing enterprise Wireless Fidelity products as well.

"Twelve months ago, people were asking things like, 'How committed are you to the enterprise market? Where are you? Are you behind the curve with voice over IP?'" Collins says. "We're re-engaged and we're back out there."

The problem in the past is that the company didn't have a division focused on enterprise customers. The reorganized company now has four units: enterprise business, carriers, optical, and wireless.

In the enterprise voice market, Nortel plans to continue supporting legacy equipment while rolling out IP telephony gear and integrating it with the legacy products. Nortel already has a 76% share of the voice-over-ATM market, based on ports shipped, according to Synergy Research. The firm expects Nortel will drive carrier voice-over-IP growth this year, though Sonus, Cisco Systems, and CommWorks now lead that market. Collins says he realizes Nortel is later to the market than vendors such as Cisco, but Cisco "set high expectations in IP telephony in the past three years, though a lot of the pieces weren't in place yet." IT executives now feel more comfortable that IP telephony technology works and is reliable. And new applications, such as those that enable mobility and others specific to particular industries, are emerging to better leverage businesses' investment in IP telephony.

Nortel is also focusing on products to facilitate voice/data convergence, Collins says, and it's already received a vote of confidence. PPL Corp., a large energy company, said last week that it's among the first customers to use Nortel's products to merge its voice and data networks. The company expects to reduce costs and expand new services to employees, according to David Stever, manager of PPL's communication technology services. If Nortel achieves that, it will go a long way in convincing businesses that it is, indeed, back in business for enterprise customers.

Editor's Choice
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Terry White, Associate Chief Analyst, Omdia
Richard Pallardy, Freelance Writer
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Pam Baker, Contributing Writer