Cisco has claimed to have recruited 2,300 SMB Select Partners across Europe as the networking giant’s lower-end presence continues to grow.
Since launching its SMB Select Partner programme in 2004 (CRN, 26 July 2004) the vendor has been attempting to woo VARs onto the programme. Last year Cisco launched new SME products (CRN, 29 September), while earlier this year it claimed to have increased its SME market share (CRN, 23 January).
To continue its SME onslaught Cisco has launched its Unified Communications (UC) Accelerator Programme to train partners in UC technology. It also launched the SMB University to deliver free instructor-led training to VARs.
Gordon Mackintosh, SME market manager at Cisco, told CRN: “Our recruitment rate is on target and in the UK we have grown to 413 SMB Select Partners.
“In the UK we are looking for a total of 500 partners, but there will be some attrition, with between five and 10 per cent dropping off. We hope to achieve 500 by July 2007.”
Mackintosh added that the vendor has more than 400 UK partners and can be selective about new partners, picking them for a different geographical, technological or vertical focus.
“The partners we have recruited have come in with networking experience and most specialise around a particular area, such as security,” he said. “In the SME market our partners have been doing well in Cisco’s traditional finance and retail verticals, while we are seeing some strong growth in the public sector.”
Julian Smith, managing director of Cisco SMB Select Partner Polestar, said: “I think 500 partners in the UK is a reasonable amount. Cisco’s recruitment plans are interesting because a lot of vendors are trying to reduce their number of VARs.”
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