Cisco: Resellers extend cautious welcome to changes

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Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) VARs have responded to last week’s leaked memo from Cisco chief John Chambers outlining major changes within the organisation to help restore its credibility in the market following market losses.

So far, it seems Cisco partners are cautiously welcoming the admission from Chambers.

Bob Dalton, CEO of Intact Integrated Services Group reckons the memo – combined with what the firm heard and saw at the recent Cisco Partner Summit – confirms that the company is “clearly in listening mode”.

He tells Channel Pro: “In his memo, John reiterated his belief in Cisco’s core strategy of extending the network platform – and that’s great. However we also believe Cisco will now take steps to ensure that it doesn’t overlook the need to look after its core routing and switching technology – and that’s going to be critical for the channel.

“We also sensed that Cisco will pay more attention to protecting its brand, and maybe not expend quite so much effort aggressively pursuing the consumer market in its ex-Linksys product space,” he adds.

Tom Kelly, managing director at Logicalis UK also says he welcomes any efforts from Cisco to re-focus on its operations. He suggests there a knowledge gap exists inside the organisation, which has resulted in partners receiving mixed messages.

“Four years ago Cisco account managers only had to sell networking. Now they have to know about the datacentre, video and now the cloud,” says Kelly, who adds there needs to be more emphasis on educating managers on the new technologies.

Says Kelly: “I believe Cisco has the best technology to take to market, but it needs feet on the street to properly go back and relay its message to partners.”

Says Dalton: “John Chambers talked about simplifying processes – particularly for the channel. While we welcome this and appreciate the lower costs involved for further UC architecture specialisations, Cisco still needs to recognise that these top-down strategic directives can still prove inconvenient and costly for organisations such as Intact that have already invested significantly in securing Cisco’s current advanced specialisations.”

Meanwhile, Adrian Foxall, Computacenter’s business line director for Cisco UCS believes the message is a positive one: “The way I read it is that partners are still very -centric to [Cisco’s] go to market; it’s very positive if they improve that focus and take the cost out of partner commitment.”

Christine Horton

Christine has been a tech journalist for over 20 years, 10 of which she spent exclusively covering the IT Channel. From 2006-2009 she worked as the editor of Channel Business, before moving on to ChannelPro where she was editor and, latterly, senior editor.

Since 2016, she has been a freelance writer, editor, and copywriter and continues to cover the channel in addition to broader IT themes. Additionally, she provides media training explaining what the channel is and why it’s important to businesses.