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The technology giant is investing more money in channel partners even as it cuts back in other areas.
September 14, 2011
Cisco Systems Inc. is investing $75 million for Partner Led systems and support in fiscal year 2012.
The money comes in addition to other financing Cisco has announced for its channel partner program, which has been broken into two segments: Customer Led (for the enterprise and service provider segments) and Partner Led (for the midmarket and SMB markets).
On Wednesday, Andrew Sage, Ciscos vice president, worldwide, Partner Led, told press and analysts that Cisco wants to accelerate its traction among customers with up to 1,000 users. And now that cost-cutting has made Cisco leaner and perhaps slightly meaner” than it was six months ago, the company is ramping up its partner marketing initiatives, as well as technical and sales support, Sage said.
We are going to leverage marketing like we have never leveraged marketing before,” he said.
As of January, about 1,000 partners worldwide will have access to a new marketing development funds program that will subsidize marketing, training for engineers and salespeople, and demo equipment. Cisco didnt specify how much money will go toward those efforts.
For partners focused on the 250-and-below niche, the year-old Fast Track 2 program will feature simplified pricing on the Cisco products SMBs use most.
Cisco further is strengthening its pre-sales systems engineering for the midmarket. On Nov. 1, the technology giant will open its Technology Solutions Network to about 300 partners for a beta run. The Technology Solutions Network is comprised of hundreds of engineers who will work with partners on projects such as design and architecture, product choices and creating ideal solutions for customers. The program will be rolled out more broadly once the test window closes.
Finally, Cisco hopes to better enable communications with partners by adding Partner Led members to its Partner 360 partner relationship management platform.
We are simplifying how we share data and work with people in the field,” said Sage.
The changes come as Cisco has laid off thousands of employees and plans to cinch spending by $1 billion in the 2012 fiscal year, which ends July 31, 2012. Despite the cuts, channel partners say they are invigorated by the changes because Cisco is concentrating more than ever on the indirect channel. To that point, Sage said 80 percent of Ciscos business comes from partners.
Read more about:Agents
Contributing Editor, Channel Futures
Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC.
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