Cisco partners to write their own rules

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Cisco partners to write their own rules

Alex Scroxton
Cisco has moved to expand its incentive programmes, ease concerns around global deals and pledged to resolve the supply chain issues that have dogged it throughout the recession at its annual partner conference, which is being held in the vendor's spiritual home of San Francisco.

The networking industry stalwart unveiled a swathe of new initiatives for its worldwide partner programme at its annual Partner Summit, urging partners to "write the rules; own the game".

Speaking at the conference Cisco senior vice president of worldwide partners Keith Goodwin said the slogan was designed to "speak to the opportunity we have with our partners to lead very significant market transactions" towards voice, video, virtualised data centres and clouds.

Acknowledging that many resellers have concerns over these transitions, Goodwin pledged to "separate a bit of the hype from the reality" and start addressing short-term concerns.

"We're going to try to articulate what the short-term opportunities are for the partners so that they can invest and take advantage of those, but also talk with them about how we think it's going to play out long-term," he said.

"You don't want to be behind a transition. But you don't want to be too far in front of it either because if you put the investment out there and can't get a return on it there are significant negative consequences, especially if you're a smaller partner," Goodwin continued.

Cisco made two key changes to its worldwide partner programme, turning its Teaming Incentive Programme (TIP) - which has been run as a pilot scheme in Latin America since late 2008 - into a global initiative, and introducing a Global Partner Network programme.

TIP is designed to encourage early sales engagement by partners. Through the programme, Cisco will identify the most qualified partner for a particular deal based on a pre-established set of criteria.

The most qualified partner in a particular deal that then teams with Cisco will receive extra discounts.

The Global Partner Network will allow partners to collaborate across borders on large international deals.

The framework allows for a host partner to take control of the deal in the HQ location of the customer, and then to establish an agency relationship with a qualified overseas partner. The host partner will maintain ownership and overall management of the relationship.

The vendor also took the opportunity to apologise for the supply chain crisis that has dogged the networking channel to varying degrees throughout the recession, admitting that it had been caught napping in the early stages of the recovery.

Cisco also claimed that mass migration away from the Chinese coastal industrial belt, partly in response to the recession and partly in response to government development plans in the hinterland, had not helped matters.

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