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Tech Data opens Cisco technology centre

Facility to help VARs build and show off their proof of concept SMB solutions

Tech Data Canada has built a $500,000 Cisco Advanced Technology Centre inside its Mississauga, Ont., headquarters.

It has stations for five SMB solutions: RFID, Call Manager Express, Unified Communications, wireless and security.

Ross Pellizzari, Cisco Canada’s channel manager, said the facility will help Cisco attain the breadth of partners needed in the SMB market here.

“This kind of facility will help resellers with their proof of concept projects in vertical markets such as healthcare, retail and manufacturing. There is no vertical you cannot do at this facility,” Pellizzari said.

It will be a demonstration-type operation open not just to resellers but customers as well.

“Customers spend the money,” said Tech Data Canada president Rick Reid, who believes the centre will help speed the sales cycle for VARs.

Because only resellers with the proper certifications can use the centre, Tech Data is also about to release a Knowledge Plus training program, which aims to help Cisco partners attain the necessary qualifications.

Gary Collins, vice-president of sales and marketing for London, Ont.-based solution provider SaltSpring Software Inc., believes the facility will help show customers that Tech Data staff and Cisco staff are part of its team. “Other vendors would just tell us to send the customer over without us. We could potentially lose connection with the customer under that scenario,” Collins said.

With the launch of the centre, Tech Data and Cisco are offering a promotion where the first 10 resellers to book an appointment and bring in a customer will receive $200 credit on account. The centre has $250,000 worth of Cisco gear.