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Cisco’s systems integrators ‘need to get better’

John-Paul Kamath

Cisco is risking reducing customer service by failing to provide adequate support and training to partners to prepare them for deploying new Cisco applications at end-user businesses.

One Cisco user said that his company had worked with an accredited partner, but that the partner's lack of knowledge in deploying one specific Cisco application meant his company was left to work out some installation issues itself.

Speaking at the Network 2008 conference this week, Nick Watson, vice-president enterprise business Cisco UK & Ireland, said, "Increasingly, what people are after is a full-service approach to what they buy and that requires a different approach from Cisco. Are we perfect? No, we are certainly not perfect. We are very aware this is something we need to get better."

Watson said that technology evolved at a fast pace and so the skill levels of some partners on a particular area was not something that everyone could pick up on.

Cisco plans to address the skills gap at its partner conference in April, so that partners are better prepared to deliver new Cisco applications to customers.

Watson said changes to its partner programme would assist its partners in working to standards, which Cisco customers will able to identify with, and therefore will assure that what the customers can expect to get, the partners can deliver.

A 2007-2008 Gartner report said Cisco had lagged behind many of its competitors over how well it educates its partner base about new releases technologies and that this cuts across support, professional services and training.

"We continually hear that Cisco is becoming an applications company. But its messaging and enablement of its partners do not show evidence of sufficient knowledge transfer to enable its partners to support Cisco's new model with new support and professional services offerings and application-centric certifications," the report said.

Have you had trouble working with an approved integrator or partner? If so, e-mail john-paul.kamath@rbi.co.uk


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