Nortel’s SMB Onslaught. It’s going to be up-hill and not easy.

CRN reports Nortel Networks this week is staking a claim in the SMB voice- and data-convergence market with the launch of new infrastructure products and plans to recruit more SMB-focused channel partners.
With its portfolio expansion, Nortel for the first time is adding SMB switching, secure routing and wireless LAN products to its existing SMB voice lineup, which includes its Business Communications Manager (BCM) 50 VoIP offering and Norstar key system family.

Reaching small business is NOT easy and successfully selling to them is harder. There are a LOT of competitors in the market that sell small business focused telecommunications solutions.
M5 Networks is the leading telecommunication’s provider in the North East, for example.
CRN writes One Nortel partner, Barry Gerhardt, president of Barry Communications, Worcester, Mass., said the new wares are likely to displace Cisco Systems gear in many of his existing Nortel VoIP deployments and to provide larger deployment opportunities within new accounts. The new infrastructure lineup should also help solution providers looking to migrate current Norstar partners to the BCM platform, he said.
“We do have resellers that are quite competent in convergence, but we’re going to need more,” Diane Guthman, leader of SMB marketing at Nortel, Brampton, Ontario said, noting that many partners are still focusing on their comfort zone, be it voice or data, and are not transitioning quickly enough toward the convergence of the two.

One way to success, however, is for Nortel to ensure they get the passionate support of local small business solution providers. Another option is to partner with Best Buy’s Geek Squad who is going to be increasingly targeting the small business market and would want solutions to enhance their portfolio.
Nortel’s press release reads For nearly 20 years, Nortel has provided voice communication solutions to more than 15 million small and medium business employees in more than 80 countries, and its award-winning Business Communication Manager (BCM) 50 sold more than 22,000 units globally during its first year of availability. Nortel is replicating that success with the expansion of its SMB portfolio and is increasing focus on programs, training and tools to support channel partners and to ultimately drive revenue in this critical, growing market segment.
Nortel’s expanded SMB portfolio brings the power of wireless LAN, Ethernet switching, security and converged voice and data to the SMB market. The portfolio will be available in August 2006 and consists of four new products that address unique requirements, challenges and budgets of smaller businesses. The new SMB portfolio also includes enhancements to Nortel’s BCM.