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Cisco updates small business programmes

Alex Scroxton

Cisco has updated its small business programme in a move it claims will offer higher levels of support to its vast SMB channel in the UK.

The vendor cited statistics pointing to the role SMBs play providing 70% of jobs globally and spending an expected $7bn on networks and UC in 2009.

Cisco worldwide vice president of small business solutions marketing, Rick Moran, said: "On the customer side we need to make it easier to own, and when we get to the sales environment we need to make it easier to sell."

To this end Cisco is ploughing millions into the SMB channel, launching a range of services and perks, including discount incentives for smaller customers migrating off the old Linksys portfolio, increased rebates for SMB Select partners and a rebate programme for registered dealers.

The vendor also plans to revamp its partner portals to make it easier for resellers to connect with customers and will refresh its Partner Locator feature.

The new kit includes unmanaged switches and IP video surveillance gear for the Small Business (Linksys) range.

The Small Business Pro line-up gets high-performance managed Ethernet switches and a new IP telephony gateway that connects Open Source IP PBXs to existing analogue phones - a tacit admission that Cisco is keen to engage with telephony specialists such as Asterisk.

Cisco is also releasing a new version of its Smart Business Communications System software package.

The Pro kit is designed to offer incremental opportunities around network management, services and follow-through sales for Cisco dealers, said Ian Pennell, Cisco senior vice president of SMB technology group.

"We're trying to allow partners to become trusted advisors," he added.

Cisco is offering new leasing plans for customers buying into its new range, which is to be made available immediately through the channel.


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