Bell creates new unit to impress enterprises

Bell Canada is creating three new divisions and consolidating its corporate functions with its parent company, Bell Canada Enterprises Inc. (BCE) as part of a strategy to better serve its customers.

With this reorganization Bell intends to bring new solutions to market for its clients, improve customer interaction and increase time-to-market of new services and products.

The new Enterprise division serves enterprise clients, which account for about $3 billion of Bell’s annual revenue, according to Montreal-based CEO of BCE and Bell, Michael Sabia. As of June 1, the Enterprise division is headed by Isabelle Courville, who was president and CEO of Bell Nordiq Group Inc., which administers the Bell Nordiq Income Fund.

Sabia said because large enterprise customers have been subdivided between Bell Nexxia, Bell Ontario and Bell Quebec, they’ve had to have consultations between three senior executives whenever Bell wanted to make a strategic move in the enterprise space. By concentrating these customers in one unit, Sabia said Bell is giving one senior executive – Courville – the tools and authority needed to develop and execute an enterprise strategy.

Sabia noted there have been many instances where Bell failed to respond quickly enough to customer demands. He said it once took Bell 90 days of internal negotiations to put together a packaged offering, and during that period one of the service provider’s competitors had a 180-day lead in the marketplace.

“That’s just not acceptable,” he said.

Judging by the words of one Bell Canada customer, it’s too soon to assess what effect the creation of this enterprise division will have on the carrier’s clients.

“I have not had a chance to discuss in detail those changes with our account executives,” said Laurent Veron, IT manager with Ingram Micro Canada, a technology product wholesaler in Mississauga, Ont. “They’re putting together some documentation for us and some customized impact as far as our company is concerned.”

Bell made other changes to accommodate clients. The company’s new Small and Medium Business Division, is headed by Karen Sheriff, who was chief marketing officer for Bell. SMBs generate about $2 billion in revenue for Bell annually, Sabia said.

A third unit, the Consumer Markets Group, will comprise Bell’s residential wireline service, Bell Mobility, Bell ExpressVu satellite TV, Sympatico Internet service and retail BellWorld operations. As of June 1, it is led by Pierre Blouin who was CEO of BCE Emergis Inc. Consumer clients constitute the bulk of Bell’s revenue at about $8 billion, Sabia said.

“Realigning the company by customer group does make some degree of sense. Whether they’re going to reap benefits from it at the end of the day depends on how well they’re able to execute,” said Mark Quigley, Ottawa-based research director at The Yankee Group in Canada.

While Bell transitions to these new units over the coming weeks, the company says there will be no impact on service to customers, and for the most part business clients will be served by their usual sales reps.

In addition to consolidating units under customer type, Bell is also merging its people with those of BCE to remove what the company calls “internal barriers” to customer service, for example, with its marketing, financial and legal operations.

“In the structure that we had before this change, our marketing operations were all concentrated in one unit under a chief marketing officer. That organization was structurally separate from all of our channels to market. Each time marketing wanted to do something, it involved a series of discussions and, in effect, negotiations between that marketing operation and the executives leading our channels to market,” Sabia said, adding that these negotiations cost the carrier time.

Sabia said there would be no job cuts resulting from this announcement at either Bell or BCE.

– With files from Stefan Dubowski