Cisco builds channel plans online



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1 April 2005 | 0

They will be the first to receive the programme in recognition of the investment they have made in time and people

Cisco has launched a suite of Web-based business applications for its channel partners.

In a controlled release, the Unify scheme will be initially launched to Gold certified partners, which is the highest accreditation a Cisco reseller can hold.




‘They will be the first to receive the programme in recognition of the investment they have made in time and people,’ said Nick Watson, unified channels director for UK and Ireland.

In Ireland, LAN Communications and Esat Business have achieved Gold partner status, though Watson points out that other local organisations are close to achieving this accreditation. 

Cisco considers the scheme a ‘more mature way of building a relationship between a supplier and a business partner’. There is a series of evaluation criteria intended to establish a relationship between a reseller and a Cisco channel account manager. This includes a customer satisfaction metric between the partner and the end-user. All of these are reviewed on an ongoing basis.

‘Classically, partners would build a business plan, put it on a shelf for 12 months and then review how you did, whereas this is a living document that can be updated easily and often,’ says Watson. 

There are four parts to the Unify programme. Unify Business is an application that allows Cisco and a channel partner to build a business plan, based on an outline of the goals and priorities for the business they share.

The tool takes into account what area of the market the reseller has historically invested in, where that market is going, what the channel partner’s market share is and the current and future growth areas.

Unify Relationship is a diagnostic tool that allows Cisco and a channel partner to assess how closely they are aligned. Unify Knowledge provides expertise, training, e-learning and other online resources for resellers who need to keep their qualified staff up to date with the latest technologies and to develop training paths to help resellers expand into new market areas.

Unify Support is used to establish how the long-term relationship between Cisco Channel Partners and end-users is managed, by providing details of ongoing support requirements for existing and new technologies.

Other Cisco partners will not be excluded from the scheme. Within the year the Unify programme will be widened to include all of its resellers outside the top tier, says Watson.

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