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Nortel Sharpens Avaya's SME Focus in India

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
1/27/2010

The acquisition of Nortel Networks Ltd. 's enterprise business has given Avaya Inc. fresh impetus to push into the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) market in India, making use of the sales channels Nortel had built up over the years. (See Avaya's $900M Bid Wins Nortel Auction, Avaya Appoints APAC Chief, and Avaya Unveils Nortel Roadmap.)

Until the recent acquisition, enterprise communications system specialist Avaya had been marketing its products, such as its IP-based PBXs, to the Indian business user market through its subsidiary, Avaya Globalconnect.

Now, though, the integration with Nortel's Enterprise Solutions business has become the catalyst for a change of strategy, focusing instead on a channel-dominated sales strategy that's in keeping with the vendor's strategy to focus on the SME segment.

Avaya's managing director in India, Jangoo Dalal, tells Light Reading: "We see the SME segment as a major growth engine, not just for Avaya India, but also globally. We have decided to have tailor-made products for SMEs," instead of simply removing certain functions and capabilities from the existing products designed for larger companies. "In India, we have a separate team to address the needs of this group," he adds.

And the Avaya man is confident the Nortel assets will help bring success in the SME sector. "The main advantage is that the combined entity has given us scale in terms of the number of customers as well as in research and development. However, the most important benefit has been in terms of manifold increase in channel partners in the country."

Dalal, however, declined to give the specific number of channel partners Avaya now has in India.

What he is prepared to say, though, is that the "New Avaya," as Dalal likes to call it, has slightly more than 2,000 employees, eight offices, and two R&D centers in India, at Pune and Bangalore. Around 480 employees joined Avaya from Nortel’s Research & Development, sales and marketing, and customer support operations, with Dalal claiming that no jobs were lost in the transition.

A key focus for Avaya's strategy in India is unified communications, in which Dalal says SMEs are becoming increasingly interested. The Avaya man says the company intends to develop specific products just for the Indian market, but declined to elaborate on the plans.

— Gagandeep Kaur, India Editor, Light Reading

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