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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