It’s that time of year. Turkeys are being thawed, holiday preparations are underway, mittens are starting to get lost. And just like clockwork, vendor companies are looking at 2013 changes to their go-to-market and channel programs. And packet and optical telecom networking manufacturer Ciena (NASDAQ:CIEN) is no exception. MSPmentor recently spoke with Ciena’s new VP of Global Channels and Strategic Alliances Nigel Williams about the plan. Here’s the scoop.

While 85 percent of this company’s sales have come from telecom carriers, Ciena has also sold into the enterprise market and is looking to form relationships with managed services providers and more resellers in the new year, Williams told me. (You may recognize the name Nigel Williams. He's also worked at Cisco / LinkSys, Level 3, and Avaya.) The company is planning a partner conference in mid-March.

With that in mind, Ciena is prepping a redesign of its BizConnect channel program to recognize MSPs and the developments in enterprises around the cloud. Channel partners can expect to see that program’s debut in the first quarter of 2013. Here’s how it will work.

Ciena is hoping to encourage MSPs to sign on with telecom carriers that are using Ciena equipment. The benefits will come from the combination of IT and networking SLA expertise that these MSPs can offer to their end customers at competitive prices. Ciena will target niche MSPs such as those specializing in vertical markets like healthcare.

Ciena’s Williams says his company wants to work with systems integrators and bigger VARs and he includes IBM, Dell and CSC on that list. Ciena is also looking to work with VARs, and on that list Williams includes CDW and Presidio.

Expect more information about the program as the partner conference nears in March. We’ll provide updates here at MSPmentor.