Bell launches network solutions service

Eager to increase its cut of this country’s multi-billion-dollar managed solutions market, Bell Canada has launched a new one-stop source for network-based voice, video and data communications.

Bell Managed Solutions will focus on network management and outsourcing, e-business applications, converged desktop communications where voice, data and video run on a common platform with a single utility pricing model, and a new security and data integrity practice, said Charles Salameh, vice-president of the new Bell Managed Solutions group.

Although officially a new portfolio, Salameh said the security practice is actually an extension of the internal security department that already serves parent enterprise BCE’s group of companies.

Noting that managed solutions can be defined in several different ways, Salameh said “for us it is the ability to manage a customer’s total communication environment from desktop to desktop and any network-centric applications that rides on that platform.”

The distinguishing feature of Bell Managed Solutions, he said, is this focus on network-based, end-to-end service, rather than a customer’s business processes.

“Do I sell an e-commerce CD with e-learning on it? No. I do sell a hosted e-learning application that’s distributed across a wide area network, and then manage everything about that solution including the application, network and desktop – that’s a managed solution to us,” Salameh said.

Various Bell companies have offered managed solutions for the last three years to the tune of about $500 million, and 16 per cent of the Canadian market, but Salameh said the new, integrated unit “is the catalyst for delivering all of BCE’s convergence strategies.”

Salameh was also not coy about listing the new unit’s main competitors.

“Right now Telus (Corp.), AT&T (Corp.) and Bell tend to compete on connectivity for connectivity, our frame against their frame, our ATM against their ATM etc. So we’re taking aim at anyone in our market space, and it’s particularly the ILECs (incumbent local exchange carriers) that have the scale to compete against us, so it’s primarily Telus. But it’s also our partners too, like IBM (Canada Corp.). They’re trying to backwards integrate into our space of networks, and Bell and IBM have always been in the ‘coopititoin’ environment.”

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