Nortel eyes up SME market

Nortel aims to snap up a bigger slice of the multi-million pound small to medium-sized (SME) business market by targeting resellers.

Nortel, through Bay Networks, will up its commitment and support for indirect networking resellers. Amanda Giddins, marketing manager for Bay Networks explained: "This is a way for us to establish an official relationship with those resellers who have experience and expertise in selling into SMEs," she said. Under the Networking Resellers scheme, resellers will receive sales, technology and product training, gain access to Nortels secure eNet connections and an online e-commerce web site.

Analysts at Datamonitor estimate that the SME networking budget in Europe will grow from £570 million this year to £812 million by the year 2000. As many of these enterprises lack technical expertise, there is huge potential for resellers.

Dean Bubley, chief analyst with Datamonitor believes Nortel has been forced to recognise the importance of the SME market, following in the footsteps of 3Com and Cisco who have both been making a noise about the potential of SMEs for some time. Datamonitor estimates that SMEs account for 13.3 million employees in the UK, over 50% of the total workforce. As more of these businesses acquire PCs and get connected to the Internet, the networking market will expand rapidly according to Bubley.

Elaine Webb, European SME business manager for Bay Networks affirmed Nortel's commitment to medium-sized businesses. "Our plans for supporting the SME market as we move into 1999 are both comprehensive and flexible to adapt to the changing needs of this important market," she said.

To join the scheme, networking resellers can contact their local Nortel sales office and submit an application and profile. Upon joining the scheme resellers will receive training CD-ROMs and a set of sales and marketing tools.