Cisco eyes simpler channel future

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Cisco eyes simpler channel future

Alex Scroxton
Cisco has moved to reassure business partners that it is trying to simplify its channel programmes after partners said the complex nature of the vendor's initiatives often meant they were slow to get involved.
 
Cisco UK channel head Bernadette Wightman said she was reorganising her teams around the three key architectures - virtualisation, collaboration and the borderless network - detailed at Cisco's 2009 Partner Summit at the start of June.
 
"[This] puts ourselves in a position to make sure that partners understand the architectures and how to use them," she said.
 
In a keynote speech at the partner summit Cisco's Keith Goodwin remarked that levels of engagement on some of its programmes, specifically managed services and financing, had been lower than anticipated.
 
When quizzed as to why engagement levels were not as high as Cisco would like them to be, partners suggested that the vendor sometimes came across as trying too hard.
 
"Cisco is constantly telling us about value-add, but if the effort required to engage with them is greater than the value it delivers, then as an average reseller who is in business to make a profit I won't engage," said one dealer.
 
The need for partners to disclose details of their customer base to vendors such as Cisco was also fingered as a cause for discontent in some areas, particularly on the SMB scene.
 
"If my only intellectual property is my customer's IT buyer and his mobile phone number, why would I want to hand over my crown jewels to a vendor who may ditch me ten months down the line?" said one SMB partner. "That's why we don't engage."
 
Speaking to MicroScope, Wightman said she understood partner concerns and reassured resellers that sharing their IP in a way that might be detrimental to their business is not tolerated within Cisco's account management structure.
 
"We are [also] upping the ante with SMB Select resellers and building a whole new team around them," she added.
 
Wightman pointed out that generally speaking, the UK and Ireland was seeing higher levels of take-up on key Cisco programmes, especially around financing.

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