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Optical/IP

ADVA Hires for RBOC Opportunity

ADVA CEO Brian Protiva says his company is after some Tier 1 accounts in North America, and he believes new chief marketing and strategy officer Ron Martin is just the guy to help out.

In discussing his company's plan to become a "billion-dollar business," Protiva highlighted the personnel changes ADVA has made to grow the business and expand globally.

"We need to become industry insiders and have very strong CXO relationships with our customers," Protiva says. That's one of the reasons for the senior management shift that ADVA has seen over the past year.

Since January, ADVA has announced four new members of its executive management team: Ron Martin (CSMO), Jaswir Singh (CFO), Christian Unterberger (chief sales officer), and Dr. Christoph Glingener (CTO). (See ADVA Exec Shakeup Continues, Adva Appoints CMSO, ADVA Names CFO, and ADVA Appoints Sales Chief.)

As the most recent hire, Martin will be charged with bringing his industry contacts to ADVA in its quest to serve the Tier 1 carrier market in North America.

This marks a bit of a strategy shift for ADVA, which has traditionally catered to Tier 2 and Tier 3 players in the North American market. But Protiva says the company can no longer ignore the market opportunity from those larger accounts.

"We're very aware that the market is defined by a very few number of carriers. About 50 percent of the market is determined by two RBOCs. We can't ignore that, and our long-term strategy is to be able to sell into those RBOCs successfully," Protiva says.

"In Europe we sell to Tier 1s and Tier 2s in every major market. We need that same market penetration in the U.S."

As a telecom veteran with five years of experience at Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and 15 years helping to build Fujitsu's optical business, Martin is well positioned to do that.

"Ron is going to get us there. He has very good relationships in telcos and MSOs," says Protiva. "He is going to get the ear of those companies and he's going to be trusted."

— Ryan Lawler, Reporter, Light Reading

bollocks187 12/5/2012 | 2:58:50 PM
re: ADVA Hires for RBOC Opportunity think you are overstating his influence or any other exec for that matter.

Fuj. did well because with RBOCS because they had very good products in SONET. Cisco did not do well because they do not have as good a product as Fuj.

The influence of execs on large carriers is overstated by the "ignorant". The RBOC has a strict selection process which negates influence from higher management. The 'inmates' run the jail not the 'guards' - LOL

This does not mean Ron will not make a success of ADVA - it is good to see a carrier guy get out of the enterprise CISCO BS.
optiplayer 12/5/2012 | 2:58:49 PM
re: ADVA Hires for RBOC Opportunity My personal opinion is that ADVA would be far better off sticking to its existing strategy of pursuing Tier 2, Tier 3 and enterprise customers (as well as their international base). The RBOCs have proven to be the death of numerous vendors particularly those operating in a close to commodity market.

ADVA has been a great story to date and it looks like one of the guys most responsible for their success, Brian McCann, is being pushed aside. The company survived the bubble and has shone compared to flameouts such as Sycamore, ONI, Corvis etc, etc.

Brian Protiva (also a very bright guy) is kidding himself if he thinks he can serve both the Tier 1 and other markets simultaneously. AFC, Cerent and numerous other access and transport companies have tried this and failed.

Good luck to ADVA.
fsubob 12/5/2012 | 2:58:49 PM
re: ADVA Hires for RBOC Opportunity Agree, one guy will not even make a ripple effect. He may get CXO meetings, he still has to contend with legacy vendors like Fuji, Alcatel/Lucent, Cisco, Nortel, etc. With a shrinking marketplace, limited product offering, good luck!
billy_fold 12/5/2012 | 2:58:49 PM
re: ADVA Hires for RBOC Opportunity My experience has been that the inmates don't run the zoo. I have seen large vendors exert influence at high levels in RBOCs to reverse decisions made by the inmates. You may be surprised by what can be done at high levels in an RBOC. I am not saying that Ron can exert that kind of influence, but there are people who can.

-billy
jmunn 12/5/2012 | 2:58:43 PM
re: ADVA Hires for RBOC Opportunity Unfortunately, it can take many years and tens of millions of dollars to penetrate the tier 1 US market. This is usually much longer and much more expensive than most investors are willing to put up with. VCs won't touch a tier 1 customer startup story with a 10 foot pole.

There is also a real learning curve for the entire company (design through sales and support) and usually requires design changes to give the big boys what they want.

Even if you make it into their labs the actual deployments/real revenue can be years away.

The big guys also hate it when they start deploying and the supplier can't keep up.

ADVA does have real revenues from current business and doesn't seem to be planning a sudden dependence on US tier 1 sales.
SMART!

Good Luck
jmunn1
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