Cisco's phenomenal growth in the local networking market is fuelling fierce rivalries between the company's three key distributors in Australia: Express Data, Lan Systems and Tech Pacific.
According to Cisco Australia's managing director, Gary Jackson, while the three big guns currently represent distinct market sectors in Australia, Cisco's ambitions for the SME and enterprise markets could force them into war with each other.
Industry sources pointed to a recent tender at Telstra, which saw Lan Systems and Tech Pacific jostling for business as evidence of this trend. However, neither company was prepared to discuss the deal.
Jackson said Cisco is aggressively pursuing opportunities in the enterprise and telecommunications markets coupled with a sharpened focus on the SME market.
However, Cisco now risks these three companies going into battle for the same business. Until recently, they were much less likely to overlap, Jackson said.
For instance, Lan Systems prides itself as being Cisco's key value- added distributor, while Express Data and, to a lesser extent, Tech Pacific are more successful in terms of volume shipment - especially switches, he added. Lan Systems also maintains a big focus on routers and ships relatively few switches.
Lan Systems managing director Scott Frew said his company is the only true value-added company of the three, which he thinks will be an advantage at larger sites.
"We are the only distributor to be focused exclusively on networking," he said, adding that Express Data, and more especially Tech Pacific, have a big investment in consumables and are less focused on networking.
Ross Cochrane, national sales and marketing manager, Express Data, said: "The term value added is all relative. We have more value added resources than the other two companies."
Jackson said Express Data is currently the leading distributor of Cisco equipment in terms of revenue, but that there is very little to differentiate the three distributors.
However, he said: "The highest growth in switching would be from Express Data followed by the other two."
Meanwhile, Jackson is adamant that Cisco will maintain its current distribution structure.