Expert Speak

Cisco Promises Good Biz Opportunities for CPs with UC


As promised last week, I am sharing some information on Cisco’s channel plans on its new concept of unified computing.

As expected, the networking major is scouting for partners who have strong skills in all three: compute, storage and networks. And yet, the company wants to initially work with ‘a selected few’. And like all major vendors who scout outside, Cisco too is planning to sign on more partners in the next few weeks. This even as it exploits the talents of its own channel partners.

And how will the channel sell UC? Well, they will have to harp on the TCO, ROI and Capex. The company says that UC’s hosted storage and hosted back-up will provide the channel with a much more compelling solution, and therefore, more profitability. Now these are global strategies. What is the company’s message to the Indian community?

“We will enable partners in the Nexus 5000, 2000 and 1000v series first. Our first ecology of partners will comprise technology partners and system integrators,” Pete Nicholls, Cisco’s business development manager offers. The company has been grooming 30 partners worldwide for the last two years, five of who are from the APAC. Mind you these exclude TCS and Wipro who Cisco admits played a vital role in integration and testing of its unified computing technology. It also has plans to introduce new certification programmes for the channel in UC, in the next six months.

The resellers will have to wait nine to 12 months to be a part of Cisco’s UC programme.

The reason- as the company itself admits is it will take customers at least three to six months to understand and accept the technology. The company says it does not see much demand for UC till then.

And meanwhile, while Cisco executives will initially initiate lead generation and integrate solutions, and gradually allow the reseller to handle the client. (Remember that is what they did when they launched unified communications). The company wants to ensure that the partners have skills on board before being involved in UC projects.

Let me know about your experience with Cisco and its partner strategy after the launch of its unified communications campaign, and what can be the lessons learnt to participate in its new ambitious unified computing market.

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