Cisco Plays Cupid for VARs

By Sara Driscoll  |  Print this article Print

Helping partners to collaborate is key to Cisco's growth strategy, and the vendor has unveiled its portal for helping partners connect with each other.

Speed dating for channel partners is how Cisco has described its new partner-to-partner collaboration tool.

Launched at the vendor’s Partner Summit in Honolulu, the Cisco Partner Exchange is aimed at helping partners find and connect with each other, with the outcome being collaboration on deals.

Andrew Sage, vice president of worldwide channel marketing at Cisco, said the idea is that Cisco does not get too deeply involved, but that it increases the chances of collaboration being successful. Open to all 8,500 of its certified partners, the tool has three elements to it, Sage said.   

Partners first have to be found, so a VAR on the portal would fill out a profile that includes its focus areas and what it is looking for in a potential partner. Second, the VAR would enter what it needs, be it a service or a partner in a certain geography, and finally the portal would also provide information such as best practices and contract guidance.   

Read here about Cisco's data center luau. 

"Partner-to-partner collaboration is not easy and in some ways it’s not natural, but it will be necessary for the future," Sage said.

Tim Hebert, CEO of VAR Atrion, is also chairman of 1nservice, an organization designed to help partners come together. He said the marketplace is demanding this type of partner-to-partner collaboration.  "Our end users are looking for us to be general contractors," he said. "The technology is now so complex that it is impossible to be an expert at everything." 

This is why his company joined 1nservice eight years ago. "It profiles its members very thoroughly and creates a trust between them," he said. 

However, Hebert said there are challenges with partner-to-partner collaboration that still have yet to be overcome.

Vendors need to make selling together easier at a transactional level, and VARs must embrace the spirit of collaboration, he said.

"Collaborating is a mindset, it’s not about tools. A fool with a tool is a still a fool. Collaboration is about building a relationship and maintaining that for the long term, not just a one-off deal."


See these related stories also from the partner summit:

Chambers Tells VARs to Catch New Tech Wave

Cisco Unites VARs, ISVs over Integrated Apps

Cisco Portal to Help Partners Recruit Talent

Cisco Seeks Partner Growth

Cisco Plays Cupid for VARs

Analysts: Size Matters in Cisco Data Center Play

Cisco's Data Center Luau

Cisco Sets Sights on the Data Center

Top Channel Executives You Need To Know at Cisco

Sara Driscoll began her journalism career at 16 years old on her local newspaper, The Watford Observer. Working part time, she covered a range of beats. Leaving to complete her Journalism Degree at Bournemouth University, UK, Sara then went on to graduate and work for Emap. She began as a reporter on APR, Emap's construction title, being promoted to senior reporter with a year.Sara then joined VNU Business Publications as Deputy News Editor on CRN, the weekly trade title for channel players. She covered industry/business news from vendors, distributors and resellers, product announcements, partner announcements as well as market and trend analysis, research and in depth articles to predict up and coming trends in the sector. She was promoted within a year to News Editor, a year later to Deputy Editor and the following year became Editor. Sara remained editor of CRN for three years, launching the magazine on new platforms including CRN TV and eBooks, as well as several magazine and web site redesigns. She was called on for expert industry comment from various publications including appearing on live BBC news programs. Sara joined Ziff Davis Enterprise as Editor of eWeek Channel Insider. She runs the title in all formats – online up to the minute news, newsletters, emails alerts and events. She also manages the brand of Channel Insider in all formats - events, shows, awards, panel debates and roundtables.Sara can be reached at:sara.driscoll@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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