Alcatel is setting itself up to double sales in the burgeoning converged network market segment with the appointment of IPL Communication as the Australian master distributor for its range of data switches.
IPL will distribute Alcatel's OmniSwitch 6600 and 6800 for workgroups, edge applications and IP telephony, the OmniSwitch 7000 and OmniSwitch 8800 series high-capacity switching platforms and the OmniStack 6300 for fixed configuration triple-speed Gigabit Ethernet switch.
Alcatel’s country sales manager, networking infrastructure, Simon Rachowski, said the company had replaced five direct reseller relationships with one master distributor which offered partners major benefits. “This arrangement enables us to offer local distribution. It gives our partners easier access to Alcatel’s data networking solutions and the streamlined logistics that provides,” he explained.
Since 2003, IPL has been one of two value added distributors (VAD) in the burgeoning VoIP market segment. Vaughan Webster, national channel manager at Alcatel's enterprise solutions division, said appointing a master distributor for its data products in place of multiple direct relationships is the first step towards doubling sales in Australia.
“We’ve put in some more resources with pre-sales people and a data channel manager so we’re planning to double the business in Australia this year with a view to further growth in 2006. It might sound like a lot but we’re coming from a fairly low base so we don’t see doubling as an unachievable target.
“There are a lot of dealers out there that are all competing for the deal against other Cisco resellers and those guys require margin to survive. We don’t have a product portfolio that would match Cisco head on but where we do compete we offer the margin to the reseller that allows him to have a sustainable business,” he said.
IPL Group managing director, Stead Denton, doesn’t discount the possibility of taking on Cisco but believes that the majority of growth will come from the SMB segment. “We’ve got a substantial PABX dealer base of about 127 through which we principally only sell IP based phone systems. We’re selling about 120 a month that are all IP or application based and we’re finding the sweet spot is about 200 to 300 lines which is a part of the market we don’t see Cisco much at all.”