IP communication consultancy, Unify, has been awarded Cisco silver status. Alongside NCR Corporation and L7 Solutions, it is one of just three local partners to achieve this level of certification.
Unify sales manager, Jason Boyd, said it was a big step in differentiating the company from its competitors.
"We are closer to achieving gold status and competing on a level playing field with the big boys," he said. "We also received customer satisfaction excellence from Cisco - only nine partners that have received that out of about 400."
Boyd said Unify had specialised in IP and wireless communications, committed to minimum stock levels and had 11 staff certified in order to gain its silver status. Silver partners are offered technical support, access to a broader product range, better pricing, productivity tools, online training, marketing resources and special promotions.
"It opens up opportunities for us to offer our skills to SMB customers at a more affordable rate," Boyd said.
Cisco made slight changes to its channel program in March to help partners differentiate and develop their services.
Cisco regional channel manager, Jeff Sheard, said the lack of representation at silver level was down to partners jumping straight into gold. Cisco currently has 12 gold partners.
"A lot of organisations have stepped up," he said.
"There is a significant investment in training and up-skilling essential to achieving that level."
Sheard expects to see more partners shoot for silver status and hopes to build it up to similar number as the gold level.
"It gives businesses other options and clear directions in terms of how they could build their business based on Cisco technology to find a niche in the market," he said.