Nortel is at a critical point in its 111-year history, its president and CEO said in a keynote address at the VoiceCon show. Mike Zafirovski noted improvements in the past year, when the company achieved a positive operating cash flow for the first time since 1998 and saw double-digit revenue growth in the second quarter.
Nortel is in the midst of a business transformation plan, he said, while communications moves into a new era of convergence, unified communications, and mobility. Nortel, which once employed 95,000 people, is changing to meet those challenges, and the most recent round of layoffs is only part of the story, Zafirovski said.
Zafirovski said Nortel's transformation plan is about "having the guts to make significant investments in areas that matter." That includes increasing spending on research and development from $300 million two years ago to $400 million last year.
At the same time, customer expectations exceed current technology and services and the enterprise communications industry is poised for a breakthrough, said John Roese, Nortel's CTO. "We have the makings of a new era," he said. "We have an inflection point."
Roese and Zafirovski addressed a gathering of more than 2,000 people during a VoiceCon keynote address in Orlando. The keynote was one of three featured talks on Tuesday, day two of the four-day event sponsored by CMP Media, the company that publishes InformationWeek and InformationWeek.com.