Page 1 of 4
Solution providers need help running and growing their businesses. Sure, they need to be creative, dedicated, flexible and proactive. But their businesses, by definition, rely on their vendor partners for support, and far too few of them are getting what they need to succeed. People like to talk about which vendors "get" the channel, and as the 2006 VARBusiness Annual Report Card (ARC) survey shows, Cisco Systems is one of the few that does.
ARC Loyalty scores often go a long way toward determining how a vendor finishes in its particular category. But these can be skewed; if you're an all-Microsoft shop, for example, the vendor would have to screw up big-time for you to consider jumping ship. At the end of the day, you're likely to give it a good Loyalty score.
This year, Cisco won in four ARC categories--Data Networking (81 points), VoIP/Voice Networking (76), Security Software (76 ) and Business-Class LANs (76)--and finished second in Security Appliances (79). That's one of the most broadly impressive showings by an ARC vendor in recent years. Although its support scores hovered in the 60s in the Business-Class Wireless LANs category, in virtually all the other technology classes the company's scores were solidly in the 70s. That's a bit off the stellar 80s and 90s you might see for Product Innovation and Loyalty, but given VARs' general dissatisfaction with vendor support, Cisco is setting the pace in the field.
Vendors announce new channel- support initiatives all the time, but precious few deliver as promised. Partners say a main reason they're pleased with Cisco's support is that the vendor does what it says it will.
"They have good operational discipline," says Pat Scheckel, vice president of Berbee, a Madison, Wis.-based VAR recently acquired by CDW. "It starts with them having no real channel conflict. They push everything through the channel; they have a fanaticism about customer and partner satisfaction, and they have a big focus on partner profitability that other vendors don't get at all."
NEXT: Cisco's commitment to execution.
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Next >>