Nortel strengthens SMB Focus on India : By - E. R. Ashok Kumar Director – Enterprise, SMB Business, Nortel India
India has rapidly emerged as a lucrative SMB market that no vendor can afford to ignore. Backed by the buoyant Indian economy and the large SMB market, Nortel has established a long-term strategy to cater to the specific needs and challenges of SMB customers. India is the first country in Asia where the Nortel’s SMB initiative is being rolled out, and is backed up by dedicated marketing, support infrastructure and people.
In the not-so-distant past, small firms used to dominate the lucrative market for SMBs. However, the scenario is undergoing a sea change. Now, the big boys are stepping into the space. There is nothing surprising in the transition of role. They want a slice of a market that is worth more than $10 billion a year and growing fast.
The move seems to be a logical one. After dominating the enterprise market, the big companies have to go for smaller customers. One of the top guns in the hi-tech industry, Canadian telecom and communications equipment maker Nortel Networks has already entered the SMB segment.
Nortel, which specializes in making components and infrastructure for the data networks, entered India in 1992 when the company opened its first office in the country. The company has exhibited strong growth since then and evolved as a leading player in the communications market in India. Nortel addresses the Indian market through three business units, which include Service Provider, Enterprise and SMB.
In India, the communications market is experiencing robust growth as SMBs show a healthy craving for hardware and are desirous of investing in traditional offerings catering to the enterprises.
The SMB segment is a fundamental part of the Indian landscape and represents a prime target base for the enterprises. According to New York-based AMI-Partners, in India there are 7.6 million small and medium businesses. It has been estimated that 20 per cent of these businesses use PCs.
Considered critical contributors to the Indian economy, these businesses have defined as less than 250 users. The first issue one faces while attempting to foray in this lucrative segment is defining what an SMB actually is. “In India, we define an SMB as an organization that has up to 250 users. The SMB market is one of the largest and fastest growing markets for Nortel and will continue to be markets of strategic focus,” says E. R. Ashok Kumar, Director – Enterprise, SMB Business, Nortel India.
Nortel has actually come out with some specific product sets and offerings targeted at SMBs by assessing the needs and the unique challenges that the segment faces. Last year, the company announced a new hardware and software portfolio to provide end-to-end converged communications systems for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
The package includes three hardware devices: a router, a switch and an access point. The new product range features the SMB-specific Business Communications Manager (BCM50), and a digital hybrid PBX supplied by Nortel’s Korean JV, LG–Nortel. SMB customers will benefit from both voice- and data-enabled solutions backed by Nortel’s carrier-grade industry standards. The specially designed offering will provide customers simple, scalable and easy-to-use products at a very affordable price.
Backed by the buoyant Indian economy and the large SMB market, Nortel has established a long-term strategy to cater to specific needs and challenges of SMB customers. India is the first country in Asia where the SMB initiative is being rolled out, and is backed up by dedicated marketing, support infrastructure and people. The SMB initiative is one of Nortel’s biggest product rollouts in India, with multi-city road shows taking the solutions out to customers across the country.
Commenting on Nortel’s Channel Strategy, Ashok Kumar said, “We will follow the ‘four E’ approach: Engage, Enable, Excite and, of course, Execute. Emphasizing Nortel’s long-term commitment to its partners.” Ashok added, “As part of enabling our channel partners, Nortel will invest the manpower and resources to educate them, provide complete technical support and develop a unique rewards programme. There is an increasing number of data networking dealers who aspire to get into voice networking and vice versa. We will work with them and train them to broaden their knowledge.”
To provide an end-to-end value proposition to SMB customers, Nortel has set up a dedicated national customer support centre. This support centre based in Chennai is accessible through a toll-free number: 1-800-4250491. The centre provides customers a single interface for all post-deployment support and services.
The new solution will combine the traditionally distinct voice networking products and data networking products to provide a complete end-to-end solution. Nortel’s SMB solutions are distributed through Ingram Micro and its focussed resellers covering the length and breadth of the SMB segment across the country. Nortel has also joined hands with Bharti Airtel to target the small and medium business (SMB) sector in India.
E.R. Ashok Kumar, Director (SMB) of Nortel, says, “The project will enable SMBs, who do not want to make a one-time payment, an option to directly deposit the money in the bank, in the form of monthly instalments. The instalments will be formatted like bills.”