Networking vendor Nortel focused on the impact unified communications (UC) would have on resellers at its annual PartnerForum event held last month.
Telecoms giant BT won Nortel’s Partner of the Year award and Chris Tolmie, Nortel’s EMEA director of solutions marketing, said: “BT is our biggest single partner and we decided to give it partner of the year because of its commitment to Nortel.”
Tolmie predicted that the IT and telecommunications industries will increasingly overlap. He said: “With UC, we are seeing a trend towards people opting to do business with vendors, systems integrators or carriers. Nortel’s channel has to do more than they have done in the past.
“We rely tremendously on the channel. There is a grey area where there could be conflict, but we make sure we are fairly clear. There are 17 million SMEs in EMEA, so there is a lot of business for everyone.”
Tolmie also downplayed the idea that an economic downturn could hit UC harder than most markets. He said: “In a recession, people tend to make use of what they have already got rather than change what they have, but this will not stop UC from happening.”
Carl Loveday, product manager at distributor Computerlinks, said: “With UC technologies resellers tend to be cautious. They need to focus on solutions that customers are already asking for or a solution based on a platform they know and understand.”
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