Phoenix IT Group has written to customers to reassure them it is working tirelessly to ensure they will continue to receive contracted support services beyond 25 November, when its ties with Cisco are officially severed.
As exclusively revealed by CRN, Cisco canned Phoenix from its Gold partner programme at the end of October and the relationship will formally end on Monday.
In a letter dated 15 November, obtained by CRN, Phoenix partner programme manager Matt Conrad-Jones gave little insight into why the 10-year partnership broke down, other than saying its contract was "being terminated for convenience".
Conrad-Jones said Phoenix had until that point held off communicating directly to its customers on the issue because it had been too busy engaging with Cisco and other Gold partners to ensure its customers receive support beyond 25 November.
That is a process that remains ongoing, he said, adding that he understood that Cisco will offer free TAC services to affected customers until 24 January.
"Phoenix want to ensure that you will continue to receive your contracted support service beyond 25 November and we will engage with you individually during the next week or two to provide customer-specific advice on how this may best be achieved," Conrad-Jones said.
The majority of the full letter has been reproduced below.
TERMINATION OF CISCO INDIRECT CHANNEL PARTNER AGREEMENT
In the past couple of weeks you may have read certain reports in the trade press about Phoenix and our relationship with Cisco. The fact is that at the end of October we received notice from Cisco that our 10+ year relationship as a Gold Indirect Channel partner was being terminated for convenience and that Cisco would cease to be a supplier to Phoenix from 25 November.
Phoenix has a significant number of customers receiving Cisco-related services from us for which we have prided ourselves on the quality of our delivery. Our customers range from small businesses with one or two items under cover to large IT Services Outsourcer with thousands of items under cover.
To date, Phoenix have not communicated directly to you on this matter because we have been engaging with Cisco and other Gold Partners in order to agree an ongoing service model that ensures our customers receive seamless high-quality support beyond November 25th. We have pointed out to Cisco that a large number of our support contracts are multi-vendor for which we provide end to end service management. To carve out the Cisco element for another Gold Partner to take on is no short, easy task and we have proposed a number of different options to Cisco including backing off the Cisco elements of our contract to an authorised Gold Partner. At the time of writing, the negotiation process with Cisco and authorised Gold Partners is ongoing.
We have requested Cisco extend the period of notice to ensure that we can properly plan with our customers, with Cisco and quite probably with other authorised Gold Partners, a professional, smooth transition to a new service model. This week has seen some progress in that we have now started to receive some feedback from Cisco regarding you, the customer. Cisco has confirmed that the termination date of 25th November 2013 remains in place with no leeway to extend. Cisco has, however, confirmed to Phoenix in writing that they will write to each customer before the 25th November to inform you of transitional arrangements that they will provide to you regarding access to Cisco TAC, which we understand will include free TAC access provided direct by Cisco until 24th January 2014.
Phoenix want to ensure that you will continue to receive your contracted support services beyond 25th November and we will engage with you individually during the next week or two to provide customer-specific advice on how this may best be achieved.
Please be assured that Phoenix does indeed understand the importance of service continuity to you, our customers, and your interests will remain paramount in our determination to work with Cisco to properly plan how service can be maintained for you.
Partner Programme Manager
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