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April 2007
Volume 10 / Number 4
The VoIP Authority
Greg Galitzine

Alcatel-Lucent Gets Serious About the Enterprise

By Greg Galitzine, The VoIP Authority

“Serving the enterprise market is central to our vision of enriching people’s lives by transforming the way the world communicates.”

So said Pat Russo, the Chief Executive Officer of newly merged Alcatel-Lucent (quote - news - alert) at the outset of that company’s annual Enterprise Forum held February 14-16 in Paris.

Addressing the assembled crowd of media, analysts, customers, and partners, Ms. Russo spoke about Alcatel-Lucent’s “. . .commitment to our customers and our commitment to the enterprise market overall.”

She spoke proudly of how the company’s enterprise business recorded around €€1.4 Billion last year, and how that represented a 15% growth rate versus the prior year.

Perhaps most importantly, Ms. Russo spoke of the company’s commitment to the enterprise market. “I want to be very clear in conveying that there is something about which there is no uncertainty,” she said, “and that is our commitment to — and the importance of — our enterprise business and the enterprise market.”

Hubert de Pesquidoux head of the Enterprise Group of Alcatel-Lucent shared many of Ms. Russo’s sentiments, especially as regards the level of serious commitment that he and his team are bringing to the enterprise market.

Said de Pesquidoux, “When [former Chairman and CEO, and current member of the Board of Directors] Serge Tchuruk and Pat Russo asked me to run the enterprise group, I said yes with one condition: ‘We have to be serious. We are here to play, and to win, and not to be a medium player’.”

During a press conference at the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Forum, de Pesquidoux was asked about the perception that Alcatel-Lucent is stronger in Europe than in other geographies. He told the crowd that, “Yes, we are very strong in Europe, it’s a key market for us, but it should be noted that we grew in 2006 by 22% in North America, which is the largest enterprise market on the planet.”

“We are going to invest, and we will add more resources to this market,” he insisted.

To drive home the point that Alcatel-Lucent was serious about addressing the enterprise market in 2007 and beyond, de Pesquidoux referred to a quote from Baron de Coubertin, of International Olympics fame, who is well-known for saying, “What is important is to participate.”

Well, according to de Pesquidoux, “That’s wrong. What is important is to win. And we aren’t in this game just to play, have fun and participate. We are dead serious about winning, and winning big in this market.”

“So what we have to do is to make people understand that we are very seriously committed to this marketplace. . . that we have to put the energy, focus, investment, and resources into this market, and to change the way we go to market and we sell.”

All in all, Alcatel-Lucent knows how to put on an event. Considering the fact that 3GSM (News - Alert) Congress was taking place at the same time, it must have put a strain on the company’s PR and organizational resources. Nevertheless, I’m told that over 7,000 people — partners, customers, press and analysts, and potential customers — attended the Paris event.

It remains to be seen what will come to pass regarding Alcatel-Lucent and their surge into the enterprise market, but suffice it to say that the company will not fail for lack of trying. Much of their product line is in place, and de Pesquidoux touched on the fact that the firm will need to focus on outreach as well as redeploying the resources to help evolve and empower their sales force. They face some stiff competition as they set about attempting to conquer the enterprise market, but then again, any prize worth having is usually worth fighting for.

Greg Galitzine is Group Editorial Director for TMC’s (News - Alert) IP Communications Group.


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