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Cisco to push WebEx to the channel

Software-as-a-service market valued at US$75 billion worldwide

Honolulu, Hawaii — Last year’s acquisition of WebEx Communications will be Cisco Systems‘ (NASDAQ: CSCO) lynch-pin in the billion dollar software-as-a-service (SaaS) market.

According to Keith Goodwin, Cisco’s worldwide channel chief, Webex will give the networking giant an entry point to a market place valued at $75 billion. Gartner Research predicts that the SaaS model will grow by 25 per cent by 2011.

WebEx, one of CDN‘s top five vendors to watch in 2007, was acquired by Santa Clara, Calif.-based Cisco for US$3.2 billion in cash in March of last year. Currently WebEx is predominantly sold direct, but Goodwin said they’ll be taking that business to the channel.

“We want to take WebEx to market through you,” he said to a packed audience of more than 3,500 channel partners here at the Cisco Partner Summit. The company has launched a pilot program with 75 partners across 10 countries, and an expansion to all geographies is in the works.

“The current program is commissioned based on first year revenues and it will be expanded to include annuity streams for follow on years,” Goodwin said, adding the expansion will happen in the next two to three quarters.

Yasmin Jivraj, president of Edmonton-based Acrodex, said WebEx is a key component in its go to market with SaaS, adding it fits in line Acrodex’s current offerings.

“Cisco has enabled us to grow in this next wave of the Internet,” she said.

As for a specific WebEx channel program or possible inclusion into the Value Incentive Program, Goodwin said partners should look for that at next year’s Partner Summit in Boston.

“At Partner Summits we like to announce these things because we want to build them with partners. I’m going to ask them to collaborate with us and my goal next year is to talk about the successes,” he said.

Company CEO John Chambers said the WebEx acquisition will become one of the top five Cisco acquisitions of all time.

“Initially we acquired it for collaboration and well as enabling SaaS and we suddenly realized that it could apply to many other things we do, such as TelePresence, and what we’re doing in the home market and with services. WebEx became an across the board opportunity,” he said.

CDN‘s full Cisco Partner Summit 2008 coverage

April 9, 2008: Cisco adds data centre to VIP program
April 9, 2008: Blog Golden opportunity in the data centre
April 10, 2008: Cisco unveils Partner Exchange
April 10, 2008: Cisco to push WebEx to the channel
April 11, 2008: Meet Cisco’s Mr. SMB
April 11, 2008: The Canadian market according to Lloyd