Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise is urging partners to ‘think differently’ as the vendor ramps up its local cloud strategy in an effort to up the battle against Cisco and Microsoft in the enterprise communications space.
Steve Saunders, who has just been appointed to the newly created role of director of Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Cloud Services, says the company will be working to accelerate existing partners on their journey to the cloud. The vendor is also looking to introduce new co-opetition partnerships, enter new verticals and adopt innovative commercial models ‘to change the way customers buy from us’.
The company has three cloud partners in Australia – UXC Connect, Nexon and Enablis.
“We have some [other] partners who are now in the cloud-ready stage, some in the business case review state and some partner who are not yet contemplating that transition to cloud at all,” Saunders says.
In order to accelerate partners in their move to cloud, Saunders says the company is looking to reduce barriers for them to become a cloud partner.
“Not only are we thinking about different business models out to our customers, but we’re thinking of different business models to set up with our partners.
“So instead of them potentially investing in the cloud, perhaps we go on a revenue risk share basis,” Saunders says.
“If there’s a smaller partner who doesn’t think they can establish themselves, why don’t we share revenue or risk, rather than requiring them to find cash that they don’t have right now,” he adds.
As well as potentially taking on some of that risk, Saunders says he’s looking to partner up Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise channel partners ‘who don’t have the wherewithal to become a cloud partner themselves’ with existing cloud partners.
“Where they have been competitors for some time, they now may operate together or partner together in a cloud sense, using someone else’s platform.”
Saunders isn’t only pushing new business models for partners, saying Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Cloud Services will be adopting new models for how it deals with partners too.
Saunders says a key focus will be developing business solutions and commercial models that tailor cloud services for specific industries, including hospitality, education, health and government.
“We know the competition, being Cisco and Microsoft, dominate,” Saunders says.
“Their brands are very strong and global, so if we want to compete with them we have got to find verticals where we can be stronger than they are.”
He says part of that push into new verticals will be building business models that are more relevant to customers in those verticals.
The company has already worked with Accor Hotel Group and developed a commercial model which sees Accor paying on a per occupied room rate.
“So they only pay for the telephone service when the room is occupied, and when it’s not occupied, they don’t pay for it,” Saunders says.
“This comes back to our vision to change the way customers buy from us, and it also allows us to share the technology investment risk with both our partner and our customer. If the customer’s business flourishes, they pay more and if they suffer a downturn, they pay less.
“Our competitors typically [require] the business partners to invest the money in the cloud platform and take that risk out to their customer and flex and scale it.”
Saunders says while hospitality is a key focus, the company is also ‘well aligned’ to the aged care sector and is talking with them – along with several other industries – about creating commercial models aligned to their businesses.
“What is their KPI, how do they measure the success or otherwise of their business, and how should your technology investment be aligned to the key KPI of their business,” Saunders says.
“If we continue to go to the market saying, ‘we’ve got wonderful technology and you should buy it’, it’s a fast track to nowhere.
“We have to go out and recognise the challenges our business partners and customers have and what I’m challenging them to do is think differently about the business models we take to them.”