Nortel Networks in New Zealand has ruled out a shift away from its partner-centric model, despite a visiting US executive saying such a policy is costing the company business.
Enterprise networks division president Malcolm Collins, visiting Australia this month, admitted to journalists that “we lost a number of major customers because of our reluctance to engage directly”.
The vendor was therefore “taking a much more proactive view of direct touch”, he told Sydney-based Computer Reseller News.
However, Auckland-based Rob Spray, Nortel’s New Zealand country manager, doubts a 100% channel-only model is harming operations here.
Spray told Reseller News that Collins, who heads the vendor’s enterprise activity globally, was referring to the very largest of deals, such as an American university that wanted 30,000 lines installed.
New Zealand and Australia, he says, has few deals of that scale, so direct touch is less of an issue here. Nortel Networks in New Zealand has Telecom NZ as reseller and distributor for its large scale Meridian and Succession voice products.
For the smaller Business Communication Manager Systems, Telecom NZ and Cogent (formerly Onesource) are the two major resellers, with Express Data as distributor.
Collins says 95% of global business goes through partners, even if a deal is brokered directly. Spray, however, says 100% of New Zealand sales are through the channel.
“Even though some of our large customers have asked for a direct relationship, we use our partners to implement the solution,” he says.
Nortel has 14 staff in New Zealand, almost all of whom are in customer-facing roles. Spray says he does not expect any “direct commercial relationships” in future, but his staff have been told to “spend more time talking directly to customers”.