Tag Archives: Nortel

About Peter Brockmann


Peter Brockmann


the developer of this site, is currently a Genius at Apple Inc.

Before joining Apple in October 2011, Brockmann was President of Brockmann & Company, a high tech analyst and consulting company that researched the impacts and issues in the business communications experience. Clients served included AT&T, Avaya, Cisco, Sendio, RIM and others. A frequent writer, analyst and presenter on issues and opportunities in communications technologies, Brockmann offered unique insights into how communications and computing technologies changed business and changed our work lives.

Prior to forming Brockmann & Company in 2006, Brockmann was the Senior Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Business Development for FirstHand Technologies, an innovator in mobile VoIP software. Brockmann also worked at 3Com where he was responsible for the product introduction of the 3Com Convergence Applications Suite as the Vice President, Enterprise Voice Solutions Marketing, was Vice President Marketing for bTrade and co-founder of A4 Networks Corporation, a startup focused on business-to-business process automation software, sold in 2002 to bTrade.

Before 2001, Brockmann held various executive, product marketing, and business development positions at Nortel in customer relationship management software, enterprise data products, and enterprise telephony businesses. In 1998 he served as an expert witness before the United States Department of Justice and the European Commission during inquiries into the Nortel Networks’ acquisition of Bay Networks.

An accomplished pianist, Brockmann has an MBA from McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, a Bachelor of Engineering Science from the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, and a piano performance degree from the Western Ontario Conservatory of Music in London Canada.

Take Action Memos – Notifications?

There are classes of notifications. This article is about one of them – the perishable news analysis.

1999, after the acquisition of Bay Networks had been approved by the DOJ and the EU and the Canadian Government, I was a director reporting to Al Delorenzi in Business Development, on loan to the company's first and new Chief Marketing Officer, Bill Conner (now Chairman and CEO of Entrust). At around that time, John Chambers, CEO Cisco, was busy making pronouncements about their plans and visions for the service provider business.

This posturing was bold and imaginative, which in those heady days attracted lots and lots of press coverage. Our service provider sales people, who were used to bringing in billion dollar supply contracts with these carriers were terrified. Talented people were deserting, customers were pausing to consider the other guys powerpoints; was the world changing and we were out of date?

I did a couple of cool things. I gave myself the title of 'Director, Competitive Tactics', assembled an ad hoc team of specialists – a technology dude, a former Cisco sales exec and a writer who had spent his career writing and promoting Nortel Technology (formerly BNR). This small team and I would gather by conference call to create the 'TAKE ACTION MEMO.'

Every time John Chambers or another competitor bought somebody, or said something or announced some big industry push, I would call the team to action.

We would get on a conference call and debate three fundamental questions:

  • What happened?
  • What does this mean to customers?
  • What do I say?

It was a real-time exercise of corporate positioning and anti-positioning.

These debates led to the formation of a short email memo (usually bullets) that scoped out each of these answers. For example:

What happened?

  • Company A announced today that they were acquiring company B for $XX billion

What does this mean to customers? 

  • Doubt about A and B.
  • This deal will require government approval and will consume considerable internal resources as the two organizations come together. This takes  time. Sales teams, product lines and R&D teams and projects will require rationalization which will slow customer decisions down. They won't want to pick the wrong account team or wrong product.

What should I say?

  • A bought B to fill a hole in their product line.
  • We have…
  • We are focused on your success.

This kind of message was sent out to the 5,000 sales people we had in the company. I had to get special dispensation from the HR department to send out a message to so many people. I remember thinking about the first message, what's the downside of doing this? what's the upside?

After about 3 months of doing these roughly once every 10 days or so, I got call from John Roth, the CEO. He was upset that he wasn't on the distribution. I told him it was because he wasn't on the sales distribution list, but that I would send him a pre-release copy.

Despite the success, we still had some difficulties with this approach. One person would post the message on a Yahoo! chat board. We got security to reach out to this contractor and ask him to stop doing this. We wanted the information to say in-house and not get broadcast to our competitors, or shareholders since it could have been misconstrued as 'official' company statements or commentary.

Now, the value of doing Take Action Memos was that they were written and delivered shortly after major announcements and competitive events. They were meant to be light (thin) and fast. Minutes counted.