Cisco's UK channel boss has said the vendor is willing to help partners struggling with currency woes and claims he is not aware of any foreign-exchange-inspired price hikes planned in the country.
According to Australian Reseller News, back in March, Cisco upped prices of its products and services by 12 per cent in response to global currency changes. In the UK, HP recently upped its prices for the same reason, and tech vendors across the board have cited foreign-exchange issues in quarterly results.
But Cisco's UK managing director for channel Richard Roberts (pictured) said he was not aware that Cisco UK would be following the Australian arm and said his business would do its best to help struggling resellers out.
"Some of our partners have struggled with currency management," he said. "But we don't believe it has had a material effect on our partner business. I think partners which have a focus on managing currency have possibly been advantaged, but over the long term it will even itself out. We don't believe the market has been significantly impacted by it and wherever we obviously aim to assist partners [who] have a long-term commitment to a customer or a contract - we try to do whatever we can."
He said that in recent years, helping partners with day-to-day business activities such as currency management is becoming something Cisco does more and more.
"The question [about currency] is a very pertinent one because much of what we are asked to do by our partners has got nothing to do with our technology at all - it has got to do with staff, it has got to do with innovation, it has got to do with talent, it has got to do with cash flow. That is what really costs our partners and will be the difference between them flourishing and failing. We put a lot of effort into the non-product-sales piece. In certain instances, where appropriate, we do what we can."
He added that foreign exchange issues are a good example to show partners why moving to a recurring revenue model - which he claims is more predictable - is a good bet for partners.
"There is more of a shift from capex to opex and when you see these currency fluctuations, it gives another stimulus to the market to look at a different way of doing business. You cannot control and predict where [exchange rates are] going to go, [so] if you have a fixed-price service you can potentially have a bit more predictability around your profitability."
Vote of confidence
The UK general election has prompted concerns from some in the channel as the six-week "purdah" period leading up to next week's vote sees public sector bodies to slow down and halt important buying decisions until the next government is elected.
Roberts said this has caused some issues for Cisco's partners but insisted that the firm's technology portfolio is broad enough that partners can still do enough trade.
"Purdah can potentially put a break on things but if you look at which parts of the public sector businesses are affected, it is relatively small," he said. "Security and infrastructure... will always be a priority but also the distributed government, like education, they have different budget cycles. If you have a solution offering covering the whole public sector, you have robustness to get through any election.
"We have shown that in the past and we are seeing that right now. There are probably a few big central agencies which will slow a little bit but if you look at in the round, the public sector space is still a very, very positive space."
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