Cisco's plan to offload more service and support functions to its channel has had a mixed response from partners.
The changes are fuelled by the vendor's plan to increase its revenue per Cisco employee from $700,000 to $1m through increased productivity. Although Cisco's SmartNet support and service programme has been well received, some partners worry about losing customers to rivals as a result of changes.
John Crowe, a director at consultancy Stoneleigh, said: "SmartNet is great for us; we sell a box, and the services contract renews every year.
But I don't want to run a 24-hour support service or pay for service-desk software, and I'd be worried about losing my customer to another reseller or a distributor if I outsourced."
One manager at a Cisco partner, who asked for anonymity, said: "Some sector managers at Cisco would be horrified at the idea of distributors supporting resellers' customers."
Kevin Vine, director of networking services at Ingram Micro, said the distributor had set up a services brokerage in the US, allowing VARs to buy or provide accredited services from specialist firms.
"It would be interesting to see if it would work in the UK. But VARs here are more protective of their customers," he said.
Paul Cunningham, director of technology solutions at Westcon Group Europe, said: "With the Cisco product portfolio becoming commoditised, more third-party maintenance is possible. As Cisco becomes a player in technologies such as voice, the idea of resellers partnering with each other is more acceptable."
Cisco was not available for comment.
CRN's Nima Green caught up with Chris Labrey for a quick Q&A at CRN's recent European Channel Leadership Forum
We caught up with the Atea chief exec at CRN's European Channel Leadership Forum in London
Andy Gillett has been appointed GM for the UK and Ireland
UK is one of two countries to see rollout of vendor's newest subscription service