As Cisco pushes its end-to-end network vision with a series of enhancements to the Value Incentive Programme (VIP), Cisco partners have stepped up to defend the vendor's strategy.
Although Cisco has come under sustained fire from some rivals, particularly in the wake of its Unified Computing announcement earlier this year, partners have said they still stand behind it.
Russell Bolan, European head at Dimension Data said many of his clients were demanding end-to-end solutions over multi-vendor installations.
"They tell me they like the Cisco solution and they want to invest in it," he said.
Bolan added: "It's also easy for us to get rebates from Cisco through VIP, which allows us to invest more."
Jon Jensen of US-based services house Nexus IS put a global perspective on Cisco's plans. "They [Cisco] have the focus and the wherewithal to stick with it. Other manufacturers change their plans and with the economy the way it is, other resellers are having the rug pulled from under them."
The next six-month VIP session - the 14th since its inception in 2003 - will launch in August, and Cisco is pushing collaboration, virtualisation and borderless networks as part of its end-to-end strategy.
"Integrating architectures provides more value than selling product and is more relevant to customers," said Cisco senior director of worldwide marketing, Surinder Brar.
"These changes encourage partners to move up the food chain from products. We want to encourage that because right now, businesses need to be transformed," he continued.
The new VIP programme would change behaviour both within Cisco and the channel, predicted Bolan.
"Cisco account managers are going to have to become much more skilled and capable around providing complex solutions," he said. "It will change behaviour, it will change how we reward it and we will extract money back from Cisco to do it."
Brar added that partners selling end-to-end solutions through the borderless network track would receive additional rebates.