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Goodwin, Cisco's senior vice president of worldwide channels, and Randy Pond, executive vice president of operations, processes and systems, said during the opening keynote Tuesday that component shortages, changes in the Chinese labor force and the magnitude of the business decline last year were all to blame.
But there wasn't much in the way of explanation for how the problems would be fixed, VARs noted.
"It's great that they addressed the elephant in the room, but they didn't answer the questions," Belyea said. "It's costing us opportunities at this point."
"I've seen some promise in accelerated delivery, but it's still a substantial threat," said Rus Healy, CTO of Annese & Associates, Herkimer, N.Y. "We've lost tens of thousands of dollars in revenue and lost customers. They gave us the reasons but they didn't articulate concretely what the strategy is."
"It has been frustrating, but at a certain point, the world economy is not under Cisco's control," offered Kent MacDonald, vice president of network services for Long View Systems, a Calgary-based solution provider. "Have they made the situation as positive as the channel would have hoped by now? No. Are they improving? Yes."
Force 3's Yent was similarly optimistic.
"There have been customer frustrations, certainly, and we could use a more accurate forecasting system for ship dates," she said. "But I'm not sure what they can do beyond what they're already doing."
Identifying the problem at the start of the conference -- Cisco's most public statement so far on the issue -- was a reassuring sign, other observers suggested.
"I think it was a brave thing to do," said Jon Pritchard, president of Comstor Worldwide, the Cisco-centric business arm of distributor Westcon Group. "Let's be clear: products constrained versus products not available is a huge difference. From where we sit, we have a huge number of backorders compared to what we'd normally see, but very few of those backorders have resulted in order cancellations. These are genuine customers and their support has been quite positive for us."
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