Much has been written about Nortel (News - Alert) over the past 12 months. Some of it good, some of it bad, some of it pure speculation. Nevertheless, the company retains its position as one of the preeminent suppliers of telecommunications equipment in the world.
Tony Rybczynski, Director of Strategic Enterprise Technologies, Enterprise Solutions at Nortel is no stranger to the TMCnet audience. Be it through his blog, “The Hyperconnected Enterprise” or through his Inside Networking column that has appeared in Internet Telephony magazine since early 2002, or through his many speaking appearances at ITEXPO, Tony has always provided our readers and conference attendees with a level of knowledge and expertise that can only be attained through a life lived in telecom.
Rybczynski responded to a series of questions and those responses comprise the following interview.
GG: When you look back on 2008, was it a good year for your company?
TR: Nortel undertook an aggressive shift, which creates three lines of business, one of which is enterprise. For me, this establishes the strongest enterprise focus I have ever seen in Nortel (and I’ve seen a lot over my 36 years here), with sales, marketing, R&D, operations and services under one president, Joel Hackney. This along with great people, strong technology, and discerning customers aligns our stars.
GG: What was your firm’s biggest achievement last year?
TR: Making Nortel relevant to CXOs, through our Hyperconnectivity leadership, strategic alliances with Microsoft and IBM (News - Alert), and our move into Communications Integrator software and services.
Our biggest marketing coup was getting the message out that, compared to the gorilla in data, we deliver 7x the performance, and 20x the reliability at up to 50% lower TCO, all with 40% less energy — all third-party verified.
GG: What can we expect to see from your company for the next 12 months?
TR: Expect to see a lot more in application solutions for:
• revenue growth and more engaging customer service, like our truly unique, ‘better than real’, e-commerce web.alive;
• enhanced user communications and business effectiveness, like our ACE-based hot-desking application that we delivered to HSBC, working across Nortel and competitor telephony solutions, Tandberg video, and Sametime and OCS;
• better asset utilization and accelerated business processes, by embedding communications in workflows, like the patient discharge application we delivered to Orlando Regional Health.
GG: Do you think a new administration in Washington, D.C. will be good for the communications industry? If so, how? If not, why not?
TR: The expected green push by new Administration is of significant advantage to Nortel; which has been highlighting the 40% lower energy consumption of its solutions compared to Cisco (aka the Cisco Energy Tax).
GG: In your view, please describe the future of the IP Communications industry?
TR: A suite of software applications will deliver unified communications, which I view as “Communications integrated to optimize business processes”. UC not only unifies the user experience by integrating all forms of communications with desktop applications (dominated by Microsoft and IBM), but also unifies the IT infrastructure through software. UC multi-vendor environments will be brought together through communications integration software and embedded into workflows for:
• revenue growth and more engaging customer service
• enhanced user communications and business effectiveness
• richer collaboration and enhanced group effectiveness
• better asset utilization and accelerated business processes.
GG: How do the current market conditions affect your potential customers? Do you think they will hold off on purchasing new solutions or do you think the economic conditions will spur them to make purchases that will allow them to be more competitive?
TR: No doubt customers will have to watch how they spend their budgets, which translates into aligning these investments with the business. I think that a growing number of customers will realize that relying on a single vendor is giving up too much power to that vendor, is costing more than it should, and is losing flexibility in changing times.
As a result, we expect to more business-driven procurements, based on
1) Identifying the business, application and user needs — the why
2) Identifying IT operational and technological/architectural needs — the how
3) Identifying the most important business results — the what.
GG: What sets your company’s solutions apart from the competition?
TR: Inherent in the Nortel approach to UC are a set of advantages that deliver value to customers and differentiate Nortel from its competitors across three dimensions:
2) Robust technology through rich TDM/VoIP heritage, history of innovation; customer investment protection; proven data performance; and energy efficiency.
3) Advanced integration and strategic partnerships through multi-vendor and business process integration; open-standards-based approach; deep global partnerships with Microsoft and IBM; and a rich partner ecosystem.
GG: If you had to make one bold prediction for 2009, what would it be?
TR: Half of the companies in a Forrester Survey have green criteria in IT procurements. I predict that Green IT (driven by cost reduction, not philosophy) will emerge from data centers, with more enterprises scrutinizing energy consumption, and accelerated adoption of UC collaboration.
In the new-world economic realities, an increasing number of enterprises will refuse to pay the Cisco Energy Tax of 65% (compared to Nortel). This would start to reduce Cisco’s additional 11.5 MILLION metric tons of CO2 emissions, worldwide.
Enterprises will also attack travel costs through UC collaboration solutions: desktop video; telepresence; and innovative virtual environments, such as Nortel’s web.alive application.
Greg Galitzine is editorial director for TMC’s (News - Alert) IP Communications suite of products, including TMCnet.com. To read more of Greg’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Greg Galitzine