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Looking to help IT solution providers who deal in an increasingly
global marketplace, Cisco Systems has announced an infrastructure and
program to help its channel partners collaborate with their
counterparts in other countries around the world.

The go-to-market program is built around a transaction-based partner
collaboration model, Cisco said, announcing the program at a global
partner event in Lisbon, Portugal.

"This is a great opportunity
for our partners," Alex Thurber, senior director for Technology
Go-to-Market Worldwide Channels, told Channel Insider. "We have
thousands of businesses that are expanding to be multinational."

For example, a Cisco channel partner in one country may be implementing
a unified communications system for a customer locally, but that
customer may have international offices in two other countries, Thurber
says. Using this infrastructure, that partner can locate other Cisco
partners in the other two countries. In turn, those two other partners
can procure the needed equipment locally and complete the installation
locally.

Cisco is initially piloting the program with 150 end-customers. As the
program grows, Cisco anticipates creating a Center of Excellence to
help partners navigate the thorny issues, business and cultural, that
sometimes come with international contracts and transactions, according
to Thurber. This center will include templates around contracts types,
Thurber says. "Doing business internationally is still very complex."

Cisco says the new Cisco Global Resale Agent model provides each "host"
partner with the policies, processes and tools to enable it to find and
choose another Cisco partner as an agent in another country. The model
gives local partners "global rights" to choose the other partner in the
different geography, Cisco said in a statement. "After the host and
agent partner engage in and complete a business transaction, the local
partner buys the Cisco solution and invoices the customer locally,"
Cisco said in its prepared statement announcing the program.

Thurber said partners will use Cisco’s existing partner infrastructure
– Cisco’s Partner Exchange portal — to locate partners in other
geographies.

Partners can use what Thurber calls a "super version" of the partner
locater, which not only lets partners register their names and
addresses and specializations, but also lets them offer deeper details
about their practices.

"We are really looking at helping our partners expand their business,"
Thurber says. "In today’s economy, and with all the other things going
on, we are excited about the opportunities brought up here for Cisco
and partners as well."