Cisco to open up SIP program

LAS VEGAS — Besides going deeper into the small business market, Cisco Systems’ other important focus is developing industry solutions.

The company didn’t make any announcements at this week’s Partner Summit here around this strategy, but it did reveal an initiative for the fourth quarter to build industry-specific solutions.

Under the existing Solution Incentive Program (SIP) partners have to create a solution and take it to market. With this new plan, the partners will be able to register them in SIP and then take them to market.

The second piece of the plan is to let partners to collaborate with other ISVs to bring to market industry-specific solutions.

“We are expanding the collaboration and participation for SIP, said Keith Goodwin, channel chief for Cisco Systems.

Goodwin added that the company has 30 solutions across seven industry verticals in the works right now. He revealed two of them: SchoolMessenger, a solution for parental notification and Nevotek for hotel management.

Both run on Cisco branch architecture with unified communications.

Dwayne Mott, president of Orbex Computer Systems Inc. of London, Ont., found this strategy very sound.

The challenge, however, for Orbex as an SMB reseller is that it does not have enough of a client base across each of the seven vertical industries to take advantage of this initiative. Mott said that he and his team at Orbex is working towards this goal. “We are a registered Cisco partner right now, but we want to move up to the new SMB Select tier,” Mott said.

Prepackaged solutions being prepared by Cisco are blueprints with training, according to Edison Peres, vice- president of North American channels for Cisco.  Peres said that within the next 60 days Cisco will make 10 of these solutions available. He added that the remaining 20 will be released in the next few months and more after that.

Goodwin also told partners the company’s plan is to help the channel attract and retain talent.

“Talent is the No. 1 inhibitor to your growth, from what I hear. We need to find the talent develop the talent and retain the talent and with your help at the end of the day we’ll plan for tomorrow’s workforce today,” Goodwin said.

Mott appreciated Cisco’s talent initiative, agreeing that recruiting and retain top IT talent is the hardest part of building out his business.

Cisco has developed a talent partner portal and will make it available to the channel. No timetable was released by Goodwin. “We have thousands of resumes at Cisco and we need to connect you with these,” he said.

About 1.6 million people in more than 160 countries graduate from Cisco’s Network Academy and the company wants to make these individuals available to channel partners.

Internal Cisco leadership and career development tools and programs will also be given to the channel, Goodwin said.

This talent building initiative has already been starting in some geographies.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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