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rwelbourn
rwelbourn
12/5/2012 | 4:08:43 AM
re: Neptune Changes Orbit
What, no comment from any of my ex-colleagues in Nortel's Billerica campus, or is 600 Tech Park empty now?

Nope, I guess they all migrated up the road to Juniper...
hitekeng
hitekeng
12/5/2012 | 4:08:32 AM
re: Neptune Changes Orbit
Bob Ferchat and Stern went after "Vision 2000" (turned out for 2000 employees company.."
John Roth made a "Right Angle Turn".... (we know where it led)
Billy had been telling us that "This is the way, this is NORTEL"... (it is allright)
Your turn Mike... Please do something...
dav_006
dav_006
12/5/2012 | 4:08:32 AM
re: Neptune Changes Orbit
It is so strange to see that this topic is so quite GǪ I guess people already saw this coming. I thought that Neptune was a signal to the market place that Nortel at last had finally learnt how to build a router. This is big blow to investors in Nortel as it is a signal that this company is totally lost and does not know where to spent itGs R&D dollars. If this was in Formula One Race and your car keeps constantly failing it would be a big blow to the brand and who really would buy that car??? I guess that is why Nortel is not getting even a slice from BT, Telstra, Verizon, BSNL GǪ it must be so hard working for Nortel, as it is so lonely standing out there in the cold. A company that invests more on R&D as compared to its competitors surely has very little to show for it.

A note to the company executives:

- The executives should try to establish an entrepreneurial culture that inspires individuals and groups to engage in corporate entrepreneurship. A friend of mine at Nortel mentioned that there are 4000+ managers there, that would mean one in seven I a manager which is very high and for any innovative company in R&D that is far too high, and the structure seriously needs to be flattened.

- Nortel spends far too long worrying about its competitors while the answer is internal, and should focus on making its own business better all the time. A business that grows by developing and improving do no die. I feel that Mr. Z will help the company with several of its internal issues with six sigma but the first point (innovation) will suffer .. but only time will tell.

- Nortel continued to for partnerships and acquire companies that made no sense. They should have bought Laurel, but spent money buying PEC GǪ I would love to talk to some of the key decision makes GǪ and say GǣYou are FiredGǥ. What Tasman brings to the table I am not sure yet but GǪ it canGt replace what Neptune was offering.

- Nortel needs to focus on innovation and not worry about trying to imitate what is already in the market place. Once you decide to go for that market place to fight against Cisco, and Juniper you have to put more that 200 engineers or donGt worry about entering the market place. That is because first over reaps all the advantage.

- The company needs to determine how to harness the ingenuity of its employees and reward them for their entrepreneurial activity while retaining some of the rewards for the shareholders. I guess for that the company first needs to make money in the first place.

- The new focus for Neptune, are you sure you are doing the right thing as Passport and Shasta already satisfy that market segment??

Ok .. I am just going on and on .. sorry about that GǪ

Regards GǪ.
futureisbright
futureisbright
12/5/2012 | 4:08:30 AM
re: Neptune Changes Orbit
is McNeely still "in charge" of Neptune?
Pete Baldwin
Pete Baldwin
12/5/2012 | 4:08:28 AM
re: Neptune Changes Orbit
dav_006 says:
The executives should try to establish an entrepreneurial culture that inspires individuals and groups to engage in corporate entrepreneurship.

dav_006 was trying to point out the number of levels of management in Nortel, but I think he's touching on another interesting point ...

The MPE was built from scratch, a purpose-built box. Very ambitious stuff, the kind of thing a startup would try to do.

Is Nortel (or any large company, actually) just unable to pull this off? Is this a classic case of a large company losing its ability to innovate?

Yes, I know the MPE isn't completely dead, but it very much missed a key target market.
stephencooke
stephencooke
12/5/2012 | 4:08:27 AM
re: Neptune Changes Orbit
Craig,

At the moment the innovation has been effectively stifled in many of the larger companies. This is due to the fact that people who innovate tend to offer 'out-of-the-box ideas' which, by very nature, rock the boat. When >2/3 of the corporate workforce has been let go, rocking the boat is a really scarry thing to do.

To come out of this doldrum, Nortel has to tell its employees that the layoffs are over for at least a year or so, so that the innovators can come out of their caves and do their stuff again.

Steve.
stephencooke
stephencooke
12/5/2012 | 4:08:23 AM
re: Neptune Changes Orbit
Seven,

When I was at Nortel, BNR at the time, the best products that were brought to market were the optical and wireless units. Both of these were started with small 'skunk works'-type groups (ie: a small group within a big company).

I think we can both agree that neither Nortel nor Lucent is very good at the Cisco method (spin-ins). They have tried it frequently and failed. Their best advances have come from home-grown internal developments and a way to fit those products into the bigger picture.

I talked with several of my former co-workers, several who still work at Nortel, just before Christmas and their cut was a good part of what I said in the earlier post on this thread.

In terms of management we agree. From the outside it appears that Mike Z. is building an executive of people who know what to do once they are shown where they need to go. The things that I have seen Nortel announce seem mainly like improvement in specs for current technologies. Though individually impressive there appears to be no common thread, no market positioning that brings it all together, no obvious decision of what 'to be good at' as you say.

Actually I have tried to propose some strategy for Mike on the technical side but appear to have been unsuccessful in my efforts. I am sure he is getting this kind of thing from all sides at the moment. Without a visionary CTO to lean on I think their tough times will still last a while even if their execution improves. For big companies there are no overnight solutions.

Actually Nortel has farmed out a lot of their 'legacy' support to Flex. Entire design groups moved from Nortel to Flex to continue what they were doing in-house. I have no idea what that does to the bottom line other than reducing headcount and sales margin on those product lines.

Steve.
donniall
donniall
12/5/2012 | 4:08:23 AM
re: Neptune Changes Orbit
Actually - advances in digital switching in 1980's aside - what innovations have Nortel ever brought to the market?? There's this huge fallacy, misconception that Nortel have pioneered all these wonderful innovations? Where??
The so called 'Optical innovations' that Nortel drove in the 1990's often leveraged innovations by others at the component level. At best it represented an incremental improvement at the product level, but certainly not innovation .....
This is a company that, although continually claiming to be at the center of IP networking, have continually failed to produce a router strategy ... Show me a single Nortel branded router in any core network (be it ISP, traditional carrier or whatever ......)?
The recent Tasman acquistion proves that Nortel continue to struggle at the most elementary levels with IP ..... If I was a consultant the most basic, honest advice you could offer Nortel on an IP strategy is:
'Just hope it goes away'!! : ))
paolo.franzoi
paolo.franzoi
12/5/2012 | 4:08:23 AM
re: Neptune Changes Orbit

Steve,

I agree and disagree with you. Starting and stopping layoffs will have no effect here. The fundamental problem is how does a large corporation do something new or different? This would involve a unique take on a problem, and would generally fly in the face of conventional wisdom. The problem that large bodies face (of all types) is that conventional wisdom rules. Cicso solves this problem with spin-ins and purchasing small technology companies. Cisco realizes that inside the company it is impossible for it to do anything truly innovative. So, it doesn't try. It spreads money around and watches others innovate. Successful innovations get acquired.

Nortel thus has two problems:
- It needs to get a management team that realizes that there has been a fundamental shift in networking.
- It needs to come up with a way of creating a strategy that allows it to innovate.

Problem that both Nortel and Lucent have is: "What do I want to be good at?" Today, I could not recommend any specific strategy to them. They first must figure out where they want to be, then a strategy can be developed.

Lucent and Nortel both share another problem. Too many people on old products.

seven


paolo.franzoi
paolo.franzoi
12/5/2012 | 4:08:22 AM
re: Neptune Changes Orbit

stephen,

I think the thing that is most often missed is the complete change in behavior in carrier's buying equipment.

The biggest issues are not technical at this time, but business related. For example, in the old days (say 1996) RFPs used to come out regularly for updating existing product sets in areas for which carriers already were deploying. Fast forward to today. When is the last time that an RFP was issued to cover an existing product area?

The biggest single change has been the implosion in price per bit. The ramifications of that single fact are apparent from a strategic standpoint in all that is occuring. People are not thinking rationally about the implications of this and what carriers (and MSOs) are doing about it.

seven
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