Criticizing Cisco

I have just read a VARBusiness report on Cisco Systems and its reseller partners. It is not flattering to say the least, but it is missing the point of what Cisco is trying to do, in my opinion.

There were 10 stated criticisms. But I will not cite them all because quite frankly some do not make any sense.

If you want to read them all you can go to It is on the front page.

Criticism one: Cisco is taking leads/business and feeding it to higher-level partners. With a locked-in deal registration program in place under VIP program this prevents deals or leads from being leaked. I find this one hard to believe.

Criticism two: Cisco field reps are “nasty” when competing. Well, this is perception, isn’t it? Maybe they compete hard. Maybe they want to win as badly as 3Com, Nortel, Avaya and the others. I do not see this as a problem or concern. It is the marketplace, and the marketplace is fierce.

A lot of the remaining criticisms are based on preventing resellers from offering competing products. And I guess that is fair, but I will also say I have not met one vendor who enjoyed his partner base selling other company products. Not one. But this is the reality of the market place. Not one vendor will be able to meet all the needs of all the customers. That is why if you are a smart reseller you have a few vendor offerings to show clients instead of one. Vendors will not like it. But, that is tough. Customers come first. They pay the freight.

Cisco does take a hard line, but they have to. They are saving us from ourselves. They try hard to prevent the rich discounts they give from ending up on the street. They want that margin in your pocket. The reason they want it in your pocket is because if you are a healthy reseller you will sell more Cisco equipment. If you are struggling it really does not help anyone. It is about partner profitability and Ingram Micro’s VTN members understand it. Tech Data’s TechSelect members understand it here in Canada. Maybe this is just an American problem. Let’s hope so.


One quick hit before I go: Former Compaq Canada president out at HP. David Booth, senior-vice president and U.S. country manager for HP’s Technology Solutions Group, has resigned from his job as of yesterday.

No word on who will replace Booth in the interim.

Booth was a strong leader in Canada as the president of Compaq Canada. He took over after the subsidiary’s leadership became a revolving door after long time chief Don Woodley left to run Oracle Canada.

Booth was not shy to point the finger at competitors, most notably Dell, during his time in Canada. He was also a huge supporter of the channel.

— Posted by Paolo Del Nibletto, 3/06/07, 11:12AM, [email protected]

Classy characters at Canadian Chinese Computer Association

I had the great fortune of attending the annual Canadian Chinese Computer Association dinner to celebrate Chinese New Year last Friday night.

The food was really good, the restaurant was outstanding, and the entertainment was superb, but more importantly the people at the event made the night truly a festive occasion.

My hat’s off to people like Frank Luk, Kenneth Chin, Franco Liu, Frankie Wong, Robert Chin, John Tse, Kenneth Yuen and many others on the board of the CCCA.

The event, in my mind, describes what the channel in Canada is all about, and that is community.

During the dinner the lights went out at the restaurant, and you would think that with well over 100 people in the place someone would panic, but there was none of that. Everyone laughed at it. And, when the lights came back on it was met with a great cheer.

When you are there you get a sense of community spirit. This is why the channel is still strong after all these years and several attacks. You have a banquet hall filled with competitors in many areas, yet they all believe in a healthy channel.

I want to pay my complements to Rose Lai, the organizer of the event, for putting on a great feast. This year is the Year of the Pig, which means you are pure of heart. If you were born in the Year of the Pig then you often make friends for life.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!


One quick hit before I go: Brother Canada has promoted John Robertson to director of sales. He is being replaced by Debora DeCouto, who I went to high school with back in the ‘80s. The world gets a tad smaller.

— Posted by Paolo Del Nibletto, 3/05/07, 10:38AM, [email protected]

What is going on at computing retailers?

First it was Circuit City closing a whack of locations, the vast majority of them in Canada. Now CompUSA, Circuit City’s main rival along with Best Buy, is also shutting down more than 100 stores across the good ole U.S. of A.

Again, the same reason was given by the big box retailer: The stores were underperforming and the company will focus on those stores that are performing. It sounded like a broken record, or that Circuit City and CompUSA used the same PR firm to send out the message to save on costs.

Is Best Buy next? I am not quite sure, but all these computing retailers closing leads me to think that consumers don’t want the big box store any longer.

CDN received many letters from our story on the Circuit City closings and all of theme carried one central theme. There are smaller IT/CE retailers with a local, high tough sales model that is friendlier and more reliable.

Does this mean the market is changing? Well, I have often wondered as I drive to work each day and pass many independently-owned PC storefronts how they survive with all these big box retailers? I have been taking the same route to work for six-plus years, so maybe they have figured out something the big boxers haven’t about the customer base in and around their area.

I do know what it is right now, but I will try to find out for you in upcoming blogs.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if David beat Goliath again?


Two quick hits before I go: Local market analyst Michelle Warren has left Partner IT Research to join Info-Tech Research of London, Ont. I have always had a lot of time for Warren, one of the best people in this industry.

Also, some major channel news will come out of HP by end of day. The have scheduled a news conference to introduce Adrian Jones as its new channel chief for the Americas. He replaces John Thompson. Jones has worked for McData Corp., Pillar Data Systems, and Quantum.

— Posted by Paolo Del Nibletto, 3/02/07, 10:38AM, [email protected]

Oracle aims to be a BI leader by end of decade

Well, Oracle has once again shown to the market and the industry it gets what it wants. Charles Philips, the co-CEO at Oracle, said last year that the company wanted to be the leader in business intelligence software by the end of the decade and with the acquisition of Hyperion — a company that did US$765 million in revenue last year — they are well on their way.

Netting Hyperion now, Oracle gets a head start, but what they also get is a sound channel strategy and a partner network that is bullish on Hyperion products both here and in the U.S.

Late last year Hyperion formalized a channel program for its more than 700 partners worldwide that are building solutions around its System 9 flagship product. Under SolutionsNet, partners can now use Hyperion products within their tailored solutions for vertical markets such as packaged goods, banking, insurance, healthcare, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, and retail. The program is also flexible to work in other verticals such as the oil and gas sector.

According to Mercedes Ellison, vice-president of global partner sales for Hyperion, SolutionsNet i

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For over 25 years, CDN has been the voice of the IT channel community in Canada. Today through our digital magazine, e-mail newsletter, video reports, events and social media platforms, we provide channel partners with the information they need to grow their business.

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