The company’s reformed global certification programme will run from July this year, with Cisco’s partners expected to comply by July 2002 in order to retain their status as certified resellers. Cisco has promised that the programme will remain free.
Paris Arey, managing director of Cisco’s channel programme, said: “A year ago we started to evaluate the support we provide to our partners and decided that we had to take into account new technologies and the fact that the smaller resellers tend to have a great deal of expertise in just one or two areas.”
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Arey claimed the demands of the new programme would be tougher with partners expected to demonstrate sound knowledge of networking topics, such as IP telephony and security. He said the programme would continue to have a strong customer satisfaction element adding: “We will now allow our resellers access to the full results of their customer satisfaction survey.”
Keith Humphreys, principal analyst at Eurolan Research, believes that Cisco is unbundling product sales from the equation because this says very little about the capabilities of the reseller. He commented: “This market is driven by the dollar and the real dollar value is in value added services, such as consultancy and it is this capability which users really want to know about.”
Paul Cunningham, marketing director at reseller Comstor said that, as the new programme allowed a greater degree of specialisation, smaller resellers would find it easier to handle. He added: “The skills shortage is so acute that it would be difficult for the niche resellers to cover all the bases under the existing programme.”