Page 2 of 2
Rick Moran, vice president of small business solutions marketing at Cisco, said the first of the new Small Business Pro products will arrive in early 2009. Among the new products slated to debut is a desktop network storage device that Cisco developed with help from IBM, a plug-and-play IP video camera with motion detection capabilities and a wireless VoIP desktop phone.
Going forward, all new small business products will be offered under either the Cisco Small Business or Cisco Small Business Pro brands, the company said.
Cisco's $100 million investment will fund several service initiatives, including the launch of a dedicated Small Business Support Center with operations in South Carolina, the Philippines, China and sites in Europe. Cisco is also launching an online small business support community, where channel partners and customers can share knowledge on technical issues. The vendor also recently launched a new small business Web site with tools powered by its WebEx online collaboration service.
One Cisco partner attending the conference said he has seen stepped-up interest from Cisco in pursuing the SMB space.
"Certainly in the last year we've been invited as a small/SMB partner to more Cisco events than we have before," said James Hughes, senior key account service manager at CCT, a solution provider based in Bristol, England.
Cisco in recent months has been steadily bolstering its push into the small business market, an area where Moran said the company is already doing $1 billion in business. The vendor in August integrated the Linksys Small Business Channel Partner Program into its own partner program. It also created a Cisco Small Business Council responsible for coordinating sales, manufacturing and engineering for Cisco's pursuit of the sub-100 employee market. The council is led by Sue Bostrom, chief marketing officer and executive vice president; Keith Goodwin, senior vice president of worldwide channels; and Ian Pennell, senior vice president of Cisco's Small Business Technology Group (SBTG).