When Nokia recently named HPE alum Chris Johnson to be its head of global enterprise verticals, it marked a realization that the company can’t put all of its eggs in just the service provider market.
Johnson joined Nokia to lead the company’s global enterprise sales organization focused on bringing mission-critical communications technology to transportation, energy, public sector and other enterprise customer segments.
In his role, he has global responsibility for business strategy and driving sales into defined segments and markets. Prior to his tenure at HPE, Johnson previously worked for NCR, Sequent and EMC, holding a progression of IT sales, sales leadership and general manager roles.
He was joined by Nokia company veteran Mike Calabrese, who is overseeing the web scale and large enterprise customer segments. Earlier, Calabrese led U.S. sales for Nokia, responsible for operator, cable and cloud service providers. His previous companies include Alcatel-Lucent, TiMetra, and Cisco Systems.
What this move illustrates is the company’s broader commitment to expand its customer base outside of the service provider market by focusing on offering large enterprise customers in key verticals such as public sector, financial, and healthcare carrier-grade networks to support critical communications needs.
Johnson told FierceTelecom in an interview that Nokia sees three business verticals it can pursue with the enterprise division:
Public Sector: These are enterprises that use networks that look like a telco such as the police, public safety and Army and are building out their own infrastructure.
Government-driven telco: There’s also various national broadband initiatives where a government is building out a broadband network independently of the telco.
Railway: Nokia has also been very involved in providing communications services to railway companies where the company builds the signaling network along a railway route.
“We’re selling very large telco-like projects typically to transportation, public sector and energy that buy big scale networks,” Johnson said.
Nokia, through its Nuage SDN subsidiary, also is supporting large enterprise data center builds.
Nuage Networks recently won its first SDN-based, large enterprise project in China with China Pacific Insurance Company (CPIC), for example.
CPIC will use Nuage Networks’ Virtualized Services Platform (VSP) in two data centers to integrate IT systems, unify its private cloud and build a test cloud for R&D research.
“The second bucket of customers we’re focusing on is the IT data center that Nuage SDN supports, which has come up as the result of the Alcatel-Lucent acquisition,” Johnson said. The Nuage play is a strong technology play and we have done a reasonable job of getting established in a number of enterprises.”
Johnson added that “this is our opportunity to drive forward with software defined networking.”
At the same time, Nokia sees an opportunity to assist large cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.
“Another opportunity is the web-scale or hyperscale opportunities that require hyperscale data center build outs where a number of our network connectivity and optical platforms come into play,” Johnson said. “That’s increasingly a huge business for us as those guys grow as they build out more and more data center capability.”