January 08, 2010
Siemens Enterprise, Shared Technologies Partner to Target Nortel Embedded Base
By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, IP Communications Magazines
Siemens Enterprise Communications (News - Alert) Group and Shared Technologies, the largest independent distributor of Nortel gear for business customers, have signed a 5-year distribution agreement involving SEN Group’s OpenScape platform, which delivers SIP-based voice and unified communications. The companies expect to make the official announcement about the deal on Tuesday.
The companies aim to leverage OpenScape to bring subscription-based unified communications to Nortel customers. Presumedly, this would position the companies to migrate those customers to other Siemens (News - Alert) products over time.
Tony Parella, CEO of Shared Technologies (News - Alert), which for the past 30 years has focused on high-end enterprise customers, says when Nortel went into bankruptcy about this time last year, his company began looking for a strategy to ensure its customers would continue to have robust solutions. Shared looked at buying Nortel (News - Alert) enterprise assets, he says, but of course Avaya did that instead. So Shared began looking for new equipment partners, with an eye toward offering a unified communications solution that would enable its customers to keep their existing hardware if they so desired, Parella explains. Shared quickly identified Siemens and its OpenScape product as the perfect match, he says.
It was a strong match, he says, because Siemens is very channel focused and has been working to grow its business in North America and the United States in particular, areas in which Shared holds a prominent position. Both companies also have a significant presence in the healthcare vertical, he says. And, after going through the Nortel bankruptcy, Parella adds, the fact that Siemens has no operating debt was a welcome discovery. “Their balance sheet is pristine,” he says.
Denzil Samuels, senior vice president of indirect channels, Siemens Enterprise Communications Group, adds that Siemens traditionally has been a direct sales type of organization, but that the company embraced the channel model early last year. Samuels was hired on in May to manage all channels for Siemens globally.
Siemens found Shared attractive given it had 30 percent of the installed Nortel base in North America, Samuels says. Perhaps more important, however, is the “deep relationships” with those enterprise customers that Shared has, he adds, and the company’s reputation for exemplary service.
Shared and Siemens aim to offer those customers “a really solid choice” that protects their investment, Samuels says. While Siemens has been considering the subscription-based model for months, he says Shared made clear that would be a competitive differentiator in the marketplace, so it now has moved forward with that model, which offers customers new functionality without a lot of upfront investment. It’s akin to leasing vs. buying a car.
And while Siemens brings its OpenScape platform to the table, along with this new subscription-based pricing model, says Parella, “Shared is the glue that keeps the old infrastructure running.”
“The biggest thing is we need each other,” says Parella.
Interested in hearing about what Avaya has planned for Nortel’s product line? Find out ITEXPO East 2010. To be held Jan. 20 to 22 in Miami, ITEXPO (News - Alert) is the world’s premier IP communications event. Don’t wait. Register now.
Edited by Michael Dinan