3Com targets expansion

3Com has aggressive plans to attack the enterprise market and believes that not only can it win customers with an end-to-end network solution, but also with a range of devices that are price competitive.

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By  Zoe Moleshead Published  December 1, 2003

3Com expansion|~||~||~|3Com has aggressive plans to attack the enterprise market and believes that not only can it win customers with an end-to-end network solution, but also with a range of devices that are price competitive. First up for the networking vendor is an expansion of its routing capabilities courtesy of the 3000 and 5000 series of products.

"The most important thing is that we are going to bring an end-to-end solution to market and specifically to routing," says Andy Gijsbrechts, WAN business development manager, 3Com. "Also, by adding routers to our portfolio it is complementing our offering to the market because before we had to stop at the local area network (LAN), but now we can go across the wide area network (WAN) as well," he explains.

More importantly for 3Com, it believes its small office home office (SOHO) targeted 3000 series routers and mid range 5000 series offerings will appeal to customers because of their price/performance benefits. The vendor claims that its products are up to 30% cheaper than its closest rival's offerings.

"We are going to market the low total cost of ownership as the products' value proposition. All our products will be an average of 30% less expensive than Cisco - like to like," claims Gijsbrechts.

"That is the first thing, the second thing is that we are shipping all of our products with maximum memory and one software version. We are shipping our products as future proof. Everything you need to have convergence, security supporting virtual private networks (VPNs), encryption and so on is already on the box," he continues.

3Com also believes its aggressive pricing policy and entry into the broader enterprise space can only be a positive move for the customer. After all, it will introduce greater competition in the networking market and specifically the routing space, which should help to force costs down even further.

"Even in a mature space like routing the dominant players is Cisco, and overall in terms of the end-to-end solution, it [Cisco] has more than 85% market share. So by offering an end-to-end solution, we will become the first viable alternative and that is important for the end user because it will bring the price to a more normal level than it has been for the past years," argues Gijsbrechts.

As well as reinforcing its product portfolio, 3Com is also looking to strengthen its channel partnerships. The vendor wants to ensure that it has companies in place that are capable of supporting the enterprise market and delivering end-to-end solutions. As such, plans are underway to appoint five to 10 global systems integrators in the ilk of IBM or EDS and then reinforce this at a local level with 10 to 15 additional partners.

"Although we are investing heavily in the end user touch and brand awareness, it is not our intention to go out and own the end user market [ourselves]," says Gijsbrechts.

"Our intention is to find a few major partners across the globe... Locally, depending on the country, we are looking at between 10-15 dedicated partners to start selling our solutions. We want to have familiar partners creating the enterprise business with us. Also we know that they have better [local] contacts than us in that space so it will help us get into the market," he explains.

While exact details of the new partner programme have yet to be confirmed, 3Com suggests that its new partners will not only help to cement specific country markets, but also enable it to target vertical markets and challenge for market share more convincingly in the enterprise space. Furthermore, the combination of its new routers and strengthened channel will act as a launch pad for other solutions, says Gijsbrechts.

"The routers' product portfolio is really just our first step back into the enterprise market. Routing is going to allow us to get back into those [enterprise] accounts but the real capitalisation is going to be with other technologies, such as the new security solutions that we will announce shortly and the new VCX platform, which is our voice platform and will be a very compelling voice over IP solution - this is also why we want to be back in the enterprise market," he states.||**||

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