Cisco Systems Australia is seeking to extend its service and support expertise further into the distribution channel with the launch of its Packaged Services initiative.
Designed for both product-focused and service-focused VARs and sold only through distribution, Packaged Services includes six different offerings which resellers either utilise themselves or sell to customers when required.
According to Cisco Service's small/medium business sales manager, Tim Nolan, Packaged Services are designed to enable resellers to get access to Cisco brand services.
"We want the small to medium business reseller to be able to sell solutions, and enable them to make money on support as well as product," said Nolan. "We're enabling resellers who may or may not have a capacity to deliver service to do so."
Nolan says the majority of resellers in the small to medium business marketplace are product - not service - focused. "They are very good at designing in business solutions for their customers, where they take a bit of desktop applications, a bit of networking, and they put it together to create a complete solution.
Run out of steam
"But what we find is that those resellers gen-erally don't have people in the office to pick up post-sales support questions. They don't have the ability to invest in a Web site; they don't have the ability to invest in support tools. So what we've done is package up services that enable them to sell the complete solution."
Nolan says Cisco has essentially provided a safety net for resellers.
"They don't have to make a Phd level of investment in Cisco's capabilities, but can still sell a 'no worries' support solution to their customers. They maintain account control, they still get great margins for their options, but they don't have to make a huge financial investment for third level support."
There are six Packaged Services offerings.
Install plus Config involves a visit by a qualified Cisco technician to install product at a user site. "We're trying to give them the expanded service footprint," said Nolan. "So if you're a reseller here in Sydney, and you have an installation in Perth, do you want to put your best technical guy on an aeroplane, or do you want that person to be used to sell another opportunity?"
Packaged SMARTnet gives an end user ongoing software updates to Cisco's Internetwork Operating System (IOS), full access to the Cisco Connection Online Web site, 24-hour all-year-round access to Cisco Technical Assistance Centers (TACs), next-day part replacement and full user documentation.
SMARTnet Onsite 24x7x4 gives all facilities of the previous offering but includes four-hour response time for service coverage. "Again we enable a reseller to sell four-hour onsite without having to have that investment," said Nolan.
Advance Replacement includes advanced hardware replacement and 30 minutes of pre-paid telephone-based support from Cisco's TAC.
ExpertAccess allows resellers to buy Cisco support time, while receiving access to the CCO and software updates, while Extend provides investment protection by adding a one-year return-to-factory warranty on top of the original warranty.
Pricing on the different offerings is scalable depending on the level of service required. For example, the dealer buy price of an Advance Replacement would range from $55 to $5500 depending on the product.
As an added bonus for resellers, all users are required to register their contract with Cisco at the Contract Status Agent of the CCO. Nolan said when that contract comes close to expiration Cisco will notify the reseller, so they have reason to again approach the customer.
Cisco Packaged Services offerings are available through LAN Systems, Express Data and Tech Pacific.