Networking giant Cisco is offering $750m in extra credit financing to its worldwide channel, to help VARs meet demand for its revamped rebate scheme and expected market needs.
The vendor, which previously concentrated on high-end financing through its Cisco Systems Capital subsidiary, said it was looking to encourage SMEs with credit options. "For our partners to grow, we need to increase credit capacity," said Paul Mountford, senior vice-president of worldwide channels at Cisco.
At its partner summit last week in Vancouver, the vendor also unveiled its revamped Cisco Technology Migration Programme (CTMP) trade-in scheme, which offers VARs a 15 per cent rebate on the value of old or competitors' kit traded in for new Cisco hardware.
"There is $40bn worth of kit out there that needs to be renewed, and we need 5.5 per cent of that to hit our growth target of $2.2bn," said Mountford.
Cisco has also made changes to its support programmes to address the limitations of SmartNet, which the vendor said was too technical for SMEs. Some VARs have criticised SmartNet for enabling smaller competitors to offer support and maintenance without having their own dedicated technical staff.
SME Support Assistant has been customised for smaller businesses, with a Technical Assistance Centre aimed at non-technical customers. It joins SmartNet and Shared Support in Cisco's service and support line-up.
"It is 55 per cent cheaper than SmartNet. I like that," said Keith Humphreys, managing consultant at research firm euroLAN. "I am not convinced, however, that SMEs don't think of their networks as mission-critical."
Humphreys said a four-hour swap-out would be a good upgrade to Support Assistant.
Gary Duke, sales director at VAR LAN2LAN, welcomed the changes. "The untapped potential in the SME market is massive and this will allow Cisco to take market share from the likes of Linksys and D-Link," he said.
"It's great for Cisco because it gets the kit out quicker, and good for resellers because we are able to sell our knowledge of Cisco without the price objection."
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