Cisco fights off anti-telco sentiments

Cisco Systems is not only ambitious about boosting its channel revenues, it has assumed an education role to challenge one of the channel's darkest fears: telecommunications.

The fierce channel advocate announced late last week it has entered a deal with Cable & Wireless Optus to develop and distribute a comprehensive range of eCommerce and Internet "Solution Sets" for the small and medium enterprise (SME) market.

The 12-month agreement will see around 3000 Tier 2 Cisco resellers distribute Cable & Wireless Optus eSolution products with Cisco's Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) routers. The solution packages are expected to be available by November.

It is also particularly significant as it represents the first time a large communications carrier has engaged resellers as its primary channel to market for its solutions, the companies claim.

Liz Lawson, Cisco's newly appointed regional manager, national channels/SMB, said the deal is partly motivated by the need to educate resellers about telcos.

"Resellers see the telcos as the enemy," she said. "Optus is taking a stake in the ground."

Realistically, around 1000 resellers will be actively involved in the deal, which Lawson argues will add value to their businesses.

"It gives us an opportunity to go out and train the channel on a value-add solution," she said. "I think it puts more value into the channel and into margins."

The two companies announced a joint commitment to market the solutions and conduct reseller training, which includes ongoing product and sales training.

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