Partners Aren't Planning U.K. Expansion Alongside Cisco

As Cisco begins to dive deeper into its U.K. expansion efforts in 2016, partners say they don't see themselves aligning with the networking vendor abroad.

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco recently revealed it will create 200 new Cisco Meraki jobs at a new U.K .office by the end of 2016. Last year, the networking leader also made substantial U.K. investments, including the $700 million purchase of London-based Acano as well as Watford, England-based consultancy firm Portcullis Computer Security.

"I'm not sure why they're investing so much in the U.K.," said Robert Keblusek, chief technology officer of Downers Grove, Ill.-based Sentinel Technologies, a Cisco Gold partner. "I can see why [it would invest in] China because of the huge emerging market and a maturing economy, but the U.K. is a little less obvious to me. … I'm not sure what they see there. It's obviously something, just something we normally wouldn't look at from a partner perspective so closely, I guess."

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Partners say they're not planning to join Cisco in its investment and expansion in the U.K. for the foreseeable future.

"There's enough opportunity in the U.S. from what's going on in the consolidation in the Cisco partner space to make a bigger impact here," said Ethan Simmons, vice president, East, for Dallas-based Lumenate, a Cisco partner ranked No. 145 on the CRN 2015 Solution Provider 500. "For us, we're looking at specific geographies to bolster where we already have a footprint, but at this time, I don't see us looking outside of the U.S. and into the U.K."

"We're planning to stick in North America in 2016," said Kent MacDonald, vice president of converged infrastructure and network services at Long View Systems, a Calgary, Alberta-based solution provider and Cisco Gold partner.

In regards to the 200 new U.K. Meraki jobs, Cisco declined to comment about if it is planning to create any new Meraki jobs in North America in 2016.

In July, Cisco said it would invest $1 billion in the U.K. over the next three to five years to accelerate U.K. digital economic growth.

The networking giant announced in December an investment in Startupbootcamp, a London-based startup accelerator that nurtures new digital companies. Cisco said it is also planning a major extension of its U.K. network of innovation centers in the near future.

Cisco partners cited the difficulties in doing business outside North America, because of federal regulations and restrictions, as a reason for their lack of interest abroad.

"It's hard to do business in Europe," said Simmons. "There's regulations and restriction employment-wise -- like if you acquire a company in Europe, it's very hard to make any personnel changes, cut costs and that type of stuff."