Cisco is ramping up its presence in the service and support arena by encouraging resellers to add more value to product sales.
Part of the firm's new-found enthusiasm for channel services is inspired by the company's chief executive, John Chambers, who has set productivity targets.
Karl Meulema, vice-president of customer advocacy and services marketing and channels at Cisco, said: "Our perspective is that we don't want to grow our service and support (internally).
"Every time we add service and support, we drive down productivity. There isn't a services model where we can get from $700,000 to $1m per employee."
Anthony Miller, an analyst at Ovum Holway, said Cisco had been low key on the subject of services in the past.
"It has just come out of the closet on services. Its operation may be similar to Sun's services business," Miller said.
"Cisco may be in a better position (than Sun) because its products are so widely used."
Ed Miller, business development director at Azlan, said Cisco is likely to offer packaged services to the channel.
"Resellers can make a lot of money on service and support," he said. "We are actively recruiting services resellers. Big systems integrators have already gone to services."
Cisco's move follows hot on the heels of its push into the SME sector.
"The SME space at the moment is like a soccer team of eight-year-olds. Everyone is in the same place at the same time," Meulema said.
He added that smaller firms may not have enough staff to offer full service and support, but that they always have the option of outsourcing.
Williams agreed, adding that SME resellers are often underestimated.
"SME VARs can, and do, outsource services. It's something we've been offering for a while," he said.
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