Matrix Communications Group has performed a dramatic U-turn on its anti-Cisco stance and is now looking to partner with Cisco VARs.
As part of the reseller group’s transformation into a virtual network operator (VNO), as revealed by CRN earlier this year, the firm is looking to white-label products and services for Cisco skilled VARs, Ian Smith, chief executive of Matrix, told CRN last week.
Smith said: "Network Partners [the former distribution arm] was our last non-Matrix brand and now we have now rebranded it as a Matrix division. It will trade as ViNO (Virtual indirect Network Operator) and will sell to other integrators.
"This an opportunity for Premier and Silver-level Cisco partners to sell white label products and managed services. Customers want managed services, but a lot of integrators cannot afford the investment. We have invested £1.5m into our network operations centre."
However, Smith told CRN last year (CRN, 14 February 2005): "We are going to be the biggest threat that Cisco has ever seen in this country, and give firms in the UK the confidence to buy technology that doesn't have a Cisco badge on it."
Grahame Smee, managing director of distributor equIP, which was previously owned by Matrix before being sold to Horizon Technology Group in February (CRN 6 February), said: "Matrix had an anything but Cisco stance, but it has done a little bit of Cisco in the past."
Alistair Edwards, senior analyst at Canalys, said resellers are beginning to realise the opportunity in managed services.
"Vendors such as Cisco are starting to reward partners that offer managed services on its infrastructure," he said. "Matrix is a forward thinking company and is taking the steps its needs in terms of the direction of the market. It is still early days, but Matrix is making innovative changes."
John Donovan, managing director of UK and Ireland channels at Cisco, told CRN: "We encourage resellers to do managed services as it promotes a longer customer relationship."
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