Update: Cisco’s $100 Million SMB Investment
Roughly a year ago, Cisco Systems Inc. announced plans to invest $100 million into its SMB product strategy. But what exactly did all of that money buy Cisco — and its channel partners — in the SMB sector? Here’s an update from The VAR Guy.
Naturally, Cisco issued an in-depth press release about the one-year investment milestone. Rather than wading through all of that information, The VAR Guy spoke with Kerri McDonough, Cisco’s director of small business sales/channels. McDonough boiled down the SMB strategy to this: Cisco is looking it be “priced right for small business customers” and give the SMB “solutions that grow with the business as it grows.”
Among Cisco’s stated sSMB milestones:
- Enhancements on SA 500 Security Appliance: Intrusion prevention, anti-spam, anti-phishing and content filter, plus, Endpoint protect to prevent access to the ‘net from users who don’t have the latest security levels.
- Cisco’s AP 541N: An industry first: the 802.11n dual-band clustering access point allow small business working with partners to quickly set up and expand wireless access.
- Three year service with software updates, and 24 hour access to the Cisco SMB support community. McDonough stressed that they provide “World class service and support after the sale” and believe they’ve got a rock-solid end-to-end portfolio of solutions.
- The Small Business Partner Development Fund (or PDF for short) provides quarterly payments to qualifying partners based on purchases of Cisco Small Business products: It’s open to Cisco Registered Partners, Cisco Specialized Partners, online resale partners and service providers.
Cisco currently generates about $2.5 billion annually from worldwide SMB sales. But the company continues to face fierce SMB competition from a range of companies — Adtran, D-Link, Hewlett-Packard ProCurve and Netgear come to mind. Plus, it’s difficult to quantify exactly how well Cisco’s $100 million SMB investment is paying off. Has that investment been well-spent? McDonough certainly sounds upbeat.
Are solutions providers equally upbeat? The VAR Guy is all ears.