The top 25 newsmakers of 2007 – Number 23: Bob Martin

Now that it’s more comfortably ensconced under the Cisco Systems umbrella, this year Linksys went after the SMB space in a big way and the channel manager for Linksys Canada, Bob Martin, unveiled big plans for growing the vendor’s partner base north of the border.

While it has long best been known for its consumer products, such as wireless routers sold through the retail channel, Linksys made a splash in the SMB space this year with its Connected Office launch. Purpose-built for the SMB market, it includes product offerings and associated services, such as gigabit smart switches, Linksys One services routers, wireless services routers and other software enhancements, a Cisco Service Node for Linksys One XA Series, and a line of Linksys One ready switches.

Linksys also launched its first line of network-attached storage (NAS) devices aimed at SMBs. Called the NSS line, the four-bay Gigabit units come in a series of four machines with an entry-level price of under $1,000 for a 750GB unit.

The new SMB push comes with a revamped partner program designed to help Linksys partners sell into the SMB market, including a new tier and new specializations, and a tighter integration with Cisco at the partner level.

“My biggest challenge in Canada is one of awareness, and getting the word out there that we have this (SMB) level of product, because the Linksys brand is traditionally known as a retail brand,” said Martin, adding his goal for Canada this year was 50 to 80 per cent partner growth.

“We’re putting a lot of effort and marketing into collaboration with our friends at Cisco to get the message out that we have these business-class products.”

Linksys was also active with reseller promotions in 2007.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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