Cisco has finally revealed its plans to get its partners working more closely together to target vertical sectors.
At an event in Dublin yesterday, the vendor unveiled its Industry Solution Partner Network (ISPN) aimed at helping resellers to pair up with ISVs and target seven specific vertical markets.
Andrew Sage, senior director marketing worldwide channels, told CRN: “We have been working on this for a couple of years; customers are asking more and more for vertical expertise. We are looking to target education, government, healthcare, retail, finance, manufacturing and real estate.”
To help build this collaboration between its partners, Cisco has launched a virtual platform, similar to Second Life, where ISVs have booths in a virtual exhibition hall, and VARs can discover information about what applications they provide. The booths can include data, video and are interactive so an interested VARs can immediate make contact with an ISV.
However, to access the portal, VARs much fulfil certain criteria, according to Sage. “Resellers must have existing customers within a particular vertical market, commit sales and technical resources to the project and have a good business plan,” he said.
When the solution has been fulfilled partners will be rewarded under the Cisco’s existing Solution Incentive Programme, Sage added.
Derek Drowns, chief executive of ISV Cistera, which already has a booth in the virtual platform exhibition space, said previously his firm had to go to each reseller one by one and design deals and contracts. “ISPN is more like a framework for us to work to,” he said.
“The amount of due diligence that we have to go through before we work with a partner has shortened because we know Cisco will have already audited them. When the joint offering is really we then get our reward under SIP, which we see as Cisco putting its money where its mouth is.”
However, while some VARs welcomed the move by the networking giant, the firm is not the first to initiate such partnerships. For example IBM launched its PartnerWorld Industry Networks programme back in 2004, aimed at linking ISVs and resellers, Microsoft also has a similar programme, as does Oracle.
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