Cisco's Partner, Distribution Strategy For Tandberg Solidifies

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Soon after the ATP announcement, there was news on the distribution strategy. In late November, Cisco confirmed three specialty distributors for Cisco TelePresence solutions: St. Charles, Ill.-based Visitec Marketing Associates, Doylestown, Pa.-based KBZ Communications and Fort Worth, Texas-based TMDistributing.

Each is delivering specialized programs and services, as well as specific A/V and TelePresence expertise to VAR partners. That's different, Brown explained, from how Tandberg products will move through Cisco's other distributors, including its major broadline partners like Ingram Micro and Tech Data.

According to Brown, all Tandberg products will be available on Cisco's global price list for ordering by any Cisco distributor ordering for a qualified Cisco partner. Qualified distributors will be able to stock some of the Tandberg products, as yet unconfirmed by Cisco, starting in Cisco's fiscal third quarter.

"At the end of the day, all boats will rise," Brown said. "But we will continue to preserve the specialist video distribution channel that has a whole different set of skills. We can continue to leverage both worlds, and have more partners get video specialized over time, as well as have distributors provide stocking capabilities next to specialist distributors. There's a lot of market share out there to be gained."

Worldwide, Cisco partners with about 170 distributors total. It added several and dropped several others in line with the Tandberg integration, although Cisco declined to provide additional details on all of the additions and drops.

Brown said Cisco had learned a lot from its discussions with specialty distributors and partners with deep backgrounds in A/V and video integration.

"They would start talking to us about the network, and the network, to me, means routers and switches and IP and all the things you and I know very well," he recalled. "But in their world, the network is MCUs and video endpoints and pipes and scheduling software. They have a very different lens with which they view it."

Cisco declined to provide specific sales projections on how much of Cisco's TelePresence Solutions Group business would come from Tandberg products, but a spokesman said that the company's "expectation is that it will be significant and be a major driver for growth for Cisco and the distributor and partner community."


Next: Partners Mostly Satisfied With Cisco-Tandberg Integration

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