Westcon Hooks On WIth Cisco To Ease Cross-Border Video Sales

Westcon's Global Procurement System (GPS) has been in place for years to help Westcon's thousands of resellers with automation capabilities and cross-theater support around the world. With cross-border transactions providing many a logistical -- and lawful -- headache for VARs, Westcon's push has been to simplify that process and take care of a lot of those logistics on behalf of those VARs.

Now, Westcon's GPS is in place for use with Cisco's Distributor-As-Agent track in Cisco's Global Partner Network, a resource Cisco debuted in April 2010 to help Cisco partners sell more easily to multinational customers. Under Cisco's GPN, a "host" partner owns the overall customer relationship, but can establish a relationship with other qualified Cisco partners and distributors in particular geographies to coordinate the many moving parts in a global deal.

Comstor can now fill that role in the Global Partner Network for Cisco's TelePresence portfolio, from the large video conferencing systems down to the smaller desktop video units Cisco acquired with Tandberg. Partners will use Comstor's GPS system to handle project management, delivery and logistics, so, for example, a large multinational customer implementing telepresence solutions around the world can easily keep track of which VARs in which locations are handling which remote implementations.

"Telepresence is a technology that solves problems for companies that are considering going global," said Bill Hurley, Westcon's chief technology officer, in an interview with CRN. "We can work as the grease between the wheels of getting partners that were not necessarily providing and deploying economically or effectively telepresence for global customers."

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Westcon's GPS system is already used in more than 70 countries, Hurley said, and is fully integrated with its ERP and other business systems it uses to help global customers. Compliance is often a huge issue for channel sales to multinational customers, Hurley explained, because of local import/export laws, taxes and business regulations.

Use of Cisco's Distributor-as-Agent track in the GPN is available to Cisco partners that are certified as TelePresence Video Advanced, Advanced Plus and Master Authorized Technology Providers (ATP). Use of GPN through Comstor includes, from Comstor, staging and configuration services, locally processed transactions, global trade, customs and excise duties expertise, invoicing with local currency, strategic stocking to ensure inventory is always available, and compliance with tax and export laws.

Interest among Westcon VARs in selling video has continued to surge, Hurley said, especially as videoconferencing is more closely tied to the overall unified communications (UC) story.

Hurley said Westcon and Cisco haven't yet confirmed other Cisco technologies that will be procured through Cisco GPN and Westcon GPS working in concert, but it would make sense down the line.

"It's a unique value-add for companies looking to go global with these local resellers," he said. "We're a global organism and a global entity with Comstor here."