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Channel partners familiar with the Cisco channel program find themselves navigating not only a broad category of products but also a virtual alphabet soup of certifications, specializations and similar requirements necessary for access to products, discounts, rebates and other profitability tools. However, one channel partner has recently been awarded for helping clear up some of Cisco's channel complexities.
Many partners wish their fellow partners good luck in finding supporting information on the Cisco website, which takes an all-inclusive approach to search queries and often delivers results in hundreds, if not thousands, of hits.
"When I go to the Cisco website, it's intimidating," said Jasmine Avilez, procurement manager at Alphaserve Technologies, a New York City-based integrator. "I get this huge deluge of information that I have to sort through."
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To make matters even more challenging, Cisco's layoffs of recent years reduced the number of channel support personnel, thereby making it even more difficult to get needed information on a timely basis.
In response, Tech Data launched its "Momentum" tool. Though the initial roll-out occurred two years ago, the success of its partner dashboard helped to win it a channel enablement award for the Clearwater, Fla.-based distributor at last week's Cisco Partner Summit in Boston.
Momentum provides a computer interface that covers the key Cisco architectures of Borderless Networks, Collaboration, Data Center and Small Business. Partners can not only track their status within these four architectures but also see how certifications, specializations and other program components can be used to upgrade their status and ultimately increase their profitability. The tool is intended to be used in conjunction with Tech Data's partner account managers who can offer further assistance on how to navigate the Cisco program.
"We decode Cisco for them and enable profitable growth for our partner base," said Angie Beltz, vice president of marketing for the Cisco Solutions Group at Tech Data. "Some of the partners have an existing Cisco practice that they want to expand, and others are net new partners to Cisco. Regardless of which group they belong to, based on all the changes in expansion that Cisco has made in their architectures and product solutions, it is necessary to have some guidance about how to be successful."