The simplification of Cisco's deal registration set-up will provide a level playing field that prevents resellers losing business purely because potentially lesser-qualified rivals are better able to manage rewards schemes to their advantage.
That is the view of the UK contingent at the vendor's Partner Summit, including top partners and its UK channel boss.
At the event, taking place in Las Vegas this week, Cisco announced that it is to unify all of its disparate discount and deal registration schemes into one overarching programme. The vendor expressed its desire to improve partners' profitability on the front end, and revealed it is to boost the price differential available to resellers registering a deal from five per cent to eight per cent.
Richard Roberts, Cisco managing director of partner and commercial sales for the UK and Ireland, told CRN that "discount at the point-of-purchase is a very potent tool for inspiring sales teams". But he asserted that he does not want partners to have to waste "vast amounts of effort" simply navigating the vendor's discount schemes to best effect.
"In the past partners saw understanding the complexity of [our deal discount programmes] as a black art. But we have to understand that their customer value is not about how well they manage the programmes, it is about what is right for the customer," he added.
"The ability to remember everything [we do with our discount programmes] is not a core business value. There are other ways to show differentiation, and we want them to focus on their business, not ours."
Simon Payne, UK managing director of Gold partner Damovo, welcomed the increased focus on deal registration, claiming that "front-end discounts are always more profitable".
"It is a very aggressive market, and every point of discount you can get is crucial," he added.
Payne also welcomed with open arms the "simplification and demystification of deal registration".
"Some partners manage the Cisco rebate schemes very, very well to give themselves a points advantage over their competitors, when they are not necessarily the best option for the customer," he explained. "Putting all of Cisco's various discount incentives under one umbrella will level the field, and all partners will have to differentiate on value, which is how it should be."
The Damovo man also gave the thumbs-up of the networking giant's reduction of partner tiers from four to three, claiming that "the removal of Silver [partner level] makes sense".
Despite being a long-time Silver partner, Networks First is another Cisco channel ally to claim it is "embracing [the changes] with open arms". The third-party services outfit holds one of the vendor's Master badges - in Managed Services - which Cisco claims will now be valued as highly in the relevant areas as its broader Gold certification.
Networks First head of services Daljit Paul said:"It's great to see Bruce Klein, senior vice president of Cisco's worldwide partner organisation, externally acknowledging that the Master certification is to be seen as prestigious as Gold. As a channel services provider we understand the time and associated cost in complying with the vendor accreditation programmes and are proud to already hold Master status."
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