Amir Ammar, Sales and Business Strategy Lead for E.C.I. Networks, and OCP’s VP of Channel, Steve Helvie, discuss the open networking market in Canada.
Founded in Montreal, Canada, E.C.I. Networks delivers open networking for the data center, wired and wireless networks. Headquartered in Pointe-Claire, Quebec, E.C.I. Networks is one of Canada’s first OCP Solution Providers designing innovative solutions for network connectivity.
How do you see the market for open networking across Canada?
Until now, the Canadian Networking Market has been dominated by the major OEMs. With the launch of the 5G Network and the increase in data speeds across the board, Canadian telecommunications companies have been forced to cut costs across their entire architecture in order to remain competitive, stay nimble, and continue to grow. As a technology, open networking provides the opportunity to reap these benefits, something that other OEM products cannot. To add, Canadian telcos have begun to follow suit to their global counterparts in adopting open networking and over the next few years, we believe enterprises will continue to show high growth in adoption.
Why did you choose to focus on open networking as a business?
At ECI Networks, we’re always looking to find innovative technologies and solutions to provide to our customers. When we first heard of open Networking, we saw the potential for this technology to grow and this is due to a few factors. From speaking to our customers, we understood that they wanted more flexibility/scalability in their network. They did not enjoy being locked into long-term support contracts and paying for expensive features that they rarely used. Open networking allowed ECI Networks to provide solutions that were custom tailored to each and every customer. At ECI Networks, we enjoy thinking outside the box, and open networking has helped us to do this.
As you work with customers, what are some of their biggest obstacles to moving toward open networking?
The biggest obstacle that we face when speaking to customers is “change”. Customers are afraid of change. People tend to adopt technologies that they’re familiar with, or have been using for years, and therefore getting someone to have an open mindset has been a challenge that we face on a daily basis. Another obstacle that we run into is the support structure. Since open networking involves a multi-vendor approach (hardware & software), some customers are hesitant to change traditional vendors due to the confusion around the support structure so it’s on us at ECI Networks to help them take the leap.
How does your support model work and how is it different from a traditional OEM model.
ECI Networks has built great relationships with vendors across the entire open networking portfolio. We have relationships with the top hardware vendors as well as relationships with the software/OS vendors based on feature set and functionality. Our support model emphasizes a one-stop support structure. When a customer purchases the entire solution from ECI Networks, we back up our solution and will assist the customer in terms of replacements, software issues or any sort of problem that may arise with the solution. We’ll never leave the customer hanging and this is part of our value add.
What advice would you give to an organisation considering a move to open networking?
Open networking is not for everyone, but if you have the drive and resources to get your feet wet with this technology, it could be very rewarding. You need to think of it in terms of opportunity. If you’re an early adopter of this technology, you’ll have the upper hand as open networking continues to grow.
Why did you choose to join the OCP Solution Provider Program?
The reason we decided to join the OCP Solution Provider Program is to be able to solidify our footprint in the open networking space as well as to grow our relationships/network with the key players. OCP gives ECI Networks a global voice, which not only provides us more exposure, but also gives us a platform to share best practices with like-minded partners/individuals.
What are the future plans for E.C.I Networks?
ECI Networks will continue to focus on positioning open networking solutions that encompass telecom, data center and security needs for both Service Providers and Enterprise customers. With increasing demand across the globe, we are in the process of opening a location in LATAM based in Brazil.
Amir Ammar is an HBA graduate from the University of Toronto and has over 10 years of experience working in the technology sector. His experience includes working with fortune 100 companies in sales, strategic business/market development, product management, and new product launches. In his current role at E.C.I. Networks, Amir has been focused on helping the company build out a practice around open networking and driving sales for the Canadian region.