April 2, 2007
Still wired from the grande latte he chugged down an hour ago, The VAR Guy is sorting through several tips he just received here at the Cisco Partner Summit in Las Vegas. First up, our resident blogger hears Cisco is evaluating how it allocates joint marketing dollars for VARs. Cisco also is developing new plans to support VARs on a national level–potentially eliminating the need for large solutions providers to jump through regional hoops for each customer engagement.
Susan Bostrom, Cisco’s senior VP and chief marketing officer, is evaluating these and other issues as Cisco builds its financial model for fiscal 2008. Cisco’s current year ends this July. A new plan, which may potentially increase funds to VARs, could be in place by August 1, according to trusted tipsters who huddled in Cisco business suites at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino about an hour ago.
Although Cisco certainly isn’t ready to announce next year’s joint marketing strategy, it’s clear that the company is striving to support fast-growing solutions providers that are in acquisition mode. One prime example: MTM Technologies is a Cisco partner with 27 locations, 700 employees and a $300 million annual revenue run rate. Several executives from the solutions provider met earlier today with Chuck Robbins, segment VP for U.S. and Canada channels at Cisco.
Robbins was in “listen mode” during most of the meeting, making sure MTM didn’t have any urgent concerns. MTM executives applauded Cisco’s overall partner program and expressed hope that the networking giant would provide seamless coverage to VARs. While Robbins wasn’t in a position to promise immediate changes, he did mention that Bostrom and other executives are working to address that very issue. MTM, like many solutions providers, is pushing deeper into managed services–including security, backup and voice-over-IP.
The VAR Guy has to jump offline for a bit. His notebook battery is fading. Time for a recharge–and a refill on that grande latte. He’ll be back with more analysis involving Robbins and MTM later today.
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