Cisco beefs up virtual partner empire

By Caroline Diana, Channelworld India |  Channel, channel partners, Cisco

At a time when big players are talking about laying off a part of their channel ecosystem, Cisco has decided to embrace a different approach. Although the vendor is not keen on aggressively adding more partners, it has made sure that no harm befalls on its existing channel fraternity. The vendor is now geared up to strengthen its online partner empire. Cisco is now gathering its Indian channel troop under one roof called the Partner Exchange Portal, which is a fragment of the Cisco Partner Space.

"We introduced the Cisco Partner Space in April this year, and the response has been tremendous. This is a virtual collaborative environment that enables connections and facilitates collaboration between customers and partners, among partners, and between Cisco and partners. Now, we have also been receiving a tremendous response for the recently introduced Partner Exchange Portal as well." said R Dhamodaran, Sr. Vice President, Channel Operations and Commercial Strategy, India & SAARC. Cisco currently has 1100 partners registered in the Partner Exchange Portal. The Cisco Partner Space currently has 450 online published partners and 450 requests pending.

Partner Exchange Portal is more like a networking site for the Cisco channel community. "This portal will enable partners to find other Cisco partners and be found by other Cisco partners. Customers can easily search and collaborate with the right partner who has the right technology expertise, services, or applications focus to help them grow their business," he said. Through this portal, group/practice leaders create a customized Group Profile to promote their group's capabilities to ensure other partners find and do business with them.

Profile includes entities such as Business Focus (segments, verticals), Geographies Served, Cisco Skills, Technology/Applications Expertise, etc. "For example, a partner who does not have the required expertise in Unified Communications can collaborate with a partner who has the expertise or specializations needed for a business or IT solution, and increase mutual business opportunities," said Dhamodharan.

In the days to come Cisco is planning to focus more on switches for the data centers, WAN for bandwidth optimization, and there are going to be more enhancements in the area of Unified communications.

The most anticipated global Cisco partner Summit will happen sometime in June 2009 in the US and the Cisco Partner Summit in India will take place sometime in February or March next year.

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