Cisco offers e-consulting to help out solution provider community

LAS VEGAS — Channel partners are leaving literally hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table and Cisco has the data to prove it.

Karl Meulema, Cisco’s vice-president of channel products and marketing, who developed lifecycle services for Cisco and brought it to the channel, announced a new program to help resellers manage contracts better and improve renewal business that will be made available this May to 4,000 partners.

Called E-Consulting for Partners, the program takes performance data from a partner, analyzes it and then compares it to other partners in the same country. The data shows basically where a partner dropped the ball and recommends a plan on how to address these issues. These could include issues such as attach rates, service opportunities and renewals.

“It can pinpoint in dollar amounts what was left on the table for partners who do not do any attaching or services or do not go after renewal opportunities,” Meulema said.

Cisco bases this on more than 300 engagements with partners using lifecycle services.

Meulema wishes to make this program available to more partners, but it only has development data for these initial 4,000.

The goal of the program is to provide end-to-end contract management. The company has already made live an online contract centre for this project.

“This centre changes the way you will quote and for customers who have multiple services levels, the partner would have to recreate new contracts and new quotes for each one. With this you can create one quote and move that in a fast way into an order with the click of a mouse,” Meulema said.

As for renewals, Meulema pegged it as the single largest opportunity Cisco’s channel has at any given moment in time. In the last three month there was $1.3 billion worth of renewal business in the pipeline for partners to pursue.

“This is sales 101 and the (online contract centre) gives you a view of the next 12 months as well as easier way to track and manage contract accuracy,” he said.

Partners interested in E-Consulting for partners should contact their service account manager.

Cisco also released Smart Care services, which gives partners full visibility into Cisco network devices and enables you to schedule scans of a customer’s network on a monthly, weekly or daily basis. These health audits provide a partner with proactive notifications when something on the network changes, Meulema said.

“You’ll know more about your customer’s network and you can give them more advice for better planning. You can predict in advance to make the network deal with changes. This positions you to be a trusted advisor,” he said.

Dwayne Mott, president of London, Ont.-based register Cisco reseller Orbex Computer Systems Inc., said he likes what he has heard so far about Smart Care, but worries that it will be too Cisco-centric.

“We would have to learn all the details and we would have to put in in terms of resources to deploy it properly,” Mott said.

Smart Care will be positioned not on the enterprise but with companies who have between 50 and 600 networked users.

Smart Care will schedule monitoring of all Cisco devices in the network with assess and repair services. Smart Care services will be available in September with one price for all partners. Partners can place whatever margin amount they wish for the service, Meulema said.

Smart Care will be available to any partner with a Select certification or higher. The partner also must register and have 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. support and complete live online training and exams.

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