Cisco's strategy to get resellers to deliver more services has received a boost after Trend Network Services began offering services for the vendor's AVVID equipment.
Trend, a Cisco Gold Partner, will be offering services in conjunction with 5i, a communications consultancy.
"We're a Gold Partner offering our own range of services that integrate with Shared Support," said Stuart Muirhead, sales and marketing director at Trend Network Services. "This isn't a competitor to SmartNet, however."
SmartNet is a pre-packaged service offering that can be sold by all standard Cisco resellers. Gold Partners have access to Shared Support, which allows them to fill gaps in their own support offerings.
Muirhead said support is essential, because most networks are not based on just one vendor. "Cisco would prefer it if we all ran IPT (IP telephony) over its infrastructure, but there is a lot of legacy PBX kit out there, as well as IPT solutions from third parties. That's the area we intend to address," he said.
Resellers expressed scepticism at Cisco's plans to devolve more support and services to resellers and distributors. Smaller VARs said they would be concerned about buying services for their customers from potential competitors.
One Cisco Gold Partner, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed pricing for Shared Support also has risen.
However, Karl Meulema, vice-president of customer advocacy, services marketing and channels at Cisco, said resellers have not expressed concern to him about support issues.
"A viable model is that on the deployment side, partners are limited from a geographical point of view, but they have ties with other resellers in a non-competing geographical area. They can use these resellers to increase geographical support," he said.
Smaller resellers also find it difficult to pick up specialisations for all new technology areas for a number of reasons, according to Meulema. It therefore makes sense to partner with other resellers on that basis.
Muirhead said: "We do only service and support, and we deal only through the channel. Our intention is to work with the channel to complement resellers' skills."
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