Cisco's UK mid-market chief has asserted that the vendor's lead time troubles are behind it as he looks to recruit voice and infrastructure partners.
Around the turn of the year, shortages of chipset technology severely hampered Cisco's expeditiousness in supplying partners with kit. Lead times were pushed as high as five months in some cases. But the vendor's UK commercial and SME director David Critchley claimed there has been a marked improvement.
"One area that has been a challenge for us this year that is starting to improve is lead times, and we have seen a dramatic improvement," he said. "That was a market phenomenon, not unique to Cisco and the good news is we now see a backlog in distribution. We are back to the availability levels we had before the challenges."
Critchley also addressed partners' recent concerns about currency fluctuation, claiming it was a "swings and roundabouts" situation.
"Even if we had a price list in sterling, we would have to change it every time there was a change in the exchange rate," he added. "We would always encourage partners or distributors to hedge against currency fluctuations as best they can."
He added that the vendor is ploughing €1bn (£877m) into financing initiatives across Europe. Schemes include an extension of VARs' payment terms through its distribution financing programme from 60 to 90 days.
Critchley revealed partner recruitment would be high up Cisco's UK agenda this year, particularly around its nascent unified computing system server technology. VMware, EMC and NetApp partners would make ideal additions, he added.
"What is fundamentally different about the way we are approaching these partners in that space of the market is that, rather than just signing up people, it is about nurturing them and working with them," he said. "There is this perception that we are an 800lb gorilla. But, in the computing space we are not an 800lb gorilla – we are the upstart.
"We also think we have a very significant recruitment opportunity in the low end of unified communications and are looking for more traditional voice dealer capability. But it is not a numbers game, it is a qualitative game."
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