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October 2009 | Volume 12 / Number 10
Thinking IT Through

Thoughts About Avaya’s Acquisition of Nortel ES

Now that the dust has settled for a major step in a needed consolidation in the Enterprise Communications space – we know that Avaya (News - Alert) is the likely buyer of Nortel’s Enterprise Solutions business – several of the industries constituencies must become more active in assessing and determining the future of their unified communications plans. The two key constituencies I’d like to begin to address here, in terms of their immediate considerations and potential actions, are Nortel (News - Alert)’s customer base and Nortel’s selling channel partners.

If you are a Nortel customer, your first step is to make sure that your provider will continue support of your solution during the transition period and that you begin to (if you haven’t already) have a series of dialogs with that same provider about your plans, needs and options going forward. It is important that you make your needs known so that you do not fall through the cracks while the acquisition is completed, the roadmaps resolved and the channel re-alignments are completed – all things likely to take several months, if not a year of more. But you can’t wait, you must begin to plan for the future of your UC environment NOW!

And if you have any pending contractual issues, such as pending upgrades, installs or maintenance/support contract renewals over the next few months, you should have started these conversations already. If you haven’t, today isn’t too soon.

Also, stay plugged in to communication from the Nortel ES group while the acquisition is pending. Similarly, begin to listen to what Avaya is saying and research their products, services, solutions and strategies.

For the Nortel channel partner, whether or not you also sell other vendors’ products, there are some conversations you must have. Have conversations with your customers to make sure they understand what is happening and how you will help them through this transition. Similarly, with both Nortel and Avaya, be as certain as you can be about what the plans are going forward so that you can communicate clearly to your customers as well as develop the plans for your business going forward. IT

David Yedwab is a founding partner in market strategy and analytics partners LLC. Contact him at 908-879-2835 or

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