Siemens overhauls local operations, sets aggressive targets

Customers thrown product lifeline

The newly created Siemens Enterprise Networks finally launched in Australia last month after repeated delays caused by its wayward parent company in Germany.

This is a parent struggling with corruption and bribery scandals, price-fixing fines, the arrest of a board member, sell-off plans and a major global reorganization.

But the Australian entity which is 100 percent owned by Siemens and reports directly to Germany is keen to establish its own credentials in the local market with ambitious plans to increase market share from five percent today to 15 percent in less than two years.

The company's newly appointed local general manager, Mario Vecchio, is confident the organization can achieve its aggressive targets by taking market share from the likes of NEC and Nortel.

Vecchio is relying on drastically improved customer support plans and a long term product roadmap for the entire Siemens range, both of which have been lacking in the past.

Combined, the new plans will extend the life of Siemens products with Telstra currently rolling out the company's core technologies. This is in addition to appointing IPL Communications as a master distributor.

"We sell voice systems to the enterprise but this market is no longer about a traditional piece of hardware; its about the software," Vecchio said.

"PABX lifecycles are collapsing and converged devices, SIP standards and SOA are driving change; we believe this market will consolidate and we want first mover advantage."

In addition to the launch of Siemens Enterprise Networks, which was orginally scheduled to take place last year, the company also finalized its joint venture with Nokia last month launching Nokia Siemens Networks.

As part of the joint venture the company is undertaking a massive reorganization cutting 9,000 jobs over four years.

In recent years, Siemens has moved away from the telecommunications market, selling its mobile phone handset manufacturing business to BenQ Corp. in 2005 and putting its telecommunications network equipment activities into a joint venture with Nokia which was first announced last June.

Despite the reorganization and ongoing scandals, Vecchio believes that in Australia the company is ready to forge ahead.

He said IPL and Commander are connected to the company's global systems and support centres which hadn't occured previously.

"That allows our team to focus on customer-facing activities," Vecchio added.

Commander group general manager, Steve Evans, said the newly created Siemens entity has removed the layer that existed between Australia and Germany.

"Now the company reports directly to Germany and has access to the full product range," Evans said.

"A roadmap was also lacking and without direction there was no mindshare; I don't think Siemens was promoted as aggressively in Australia as it could be.

"But that has changed Siemens are genuinely committed to growing market share in Australia with first, second and third level support. Previosly, third level support was outsourced overseas."

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