Cisco is making a land grab in the mid-market with a streamlined product portfolio and an entry-level specialisation aimed at getting "thousands" of VARs across EMEA skilled up and selling.
The vendor yesterday unveiled the Express Collaboration Specialisation badge, which allows partners to attain the necessary sales and technical skills to sell its collaboration wares with a lower level of temporal and financial investment. Tweaks are also being made to the Advanced Technology Provider Telepresence badge to make requirements simpler.
The networking giant has also moved to simplify its portfolio with the launch of the Cisco Business Edition 6000, a 25-user bundled package incorporating voice, messaging, instant messaging and Telepresence video.
Max Caranzano, head of Cisco's EMEA Collaboration Partner Organisation, told ChannelWeb that the number of SKUs that partners have to deal with to deploy a comprehensive solution has been reduced from nine to three.
"Mid-market and SMB customers have the same needs as enterprise organisations, but without the price or complexity," he added. "We have streamlined, [creating] opportunities for partners. We believe this is the right direction. I am personally involved in major opportunities."
Also launched this week is a migration programme designed to ease the transition for customers upgrading to the Business Edition 6000, as well as a range of pricing promotions and leasing offers. By the end of this month partners can also benefit from a demand-generation kit and will have the opportunity to cultivate marketing plans with local Cisco chiefs.
Caranzano claimed that this week's announcements will initially apply to "several hundred" EMEA resellers already certified and selling to the SMB and mid-market spaces. But he predicted that the moves could ultimately benefit thousands of partners across the region.
"This is a market where we have more room to grow than in the enterprise," he added. "We have taken a comprehensive approach; this is not just about a new product, or a new specialisation or an increased discount. To address this industry, it takes a combination of many different things, and I believe this is Cisco's competitive advantage."
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