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Linksys ramps up SMB channel plans

Linksys ramps up SMB channel plans

Linksys kickstarts tiered partner program and joins Cisco's quest to win over SMBs

Cisco subsidiary, Linksys, has introduced a tiered partner program and specialisations across its product lines. It coincides with the launch of a raft of new SMB products and services under the Linksys Connected Office platform.

The new partner model will see resellers divided into two main tiers: Registered and Business Elite partner. Each offers varying product discounts, market development funding and product access. It replaces a flat-tier channel program launched last year.

To gain Elite status, resellers need to undergo a foundation technologies exam covering routing, switching, wireless and Linksys One Ready products. Specialisations will then be offered in three advanced areas: network-attached storage, voice and Linksys One. Added rewards include marketing rebates and Linksys internal support.

Another key feature of the new program is its alignment with Cisco's channel. Reardon said it had now unified the two databases.

"In SMB, VARs will be able to sell either brand depending on customer needs," Linksys regional manager, Graeme Reardon, said. "With the tiered program, we're offering more value to resellers to sell the business solutions.

"As our products become more complex and broader, we wanted to offer value to our resellers and reward them for investing time in the Linksys One platform."

Linksys had also spent the past 12 months building relationships with Cisco's exclusive distributors, Express Data and LAN Systems, Reardon said.

Linksys resellers who achieve Registered or Elite status will now be automatically classified as Cisco registered partners. On the flip side, Cisco SMB Select certification holders will be accredited Linksys Elite partners.

The partner program follows the official launch of Linksys' Connected Office platform including SVR200 and SVR300 routers, Gigabit smart switches, Linksys One Software release 2.0, and Cisco Service Node for Linksys One XA Series.

The vendor has also unveiled new applications and hosted solutions from the vendor's two local service providers, IP Systems and Soul.

The platform is targeted at companies with 20-50 users but can scale up to 100 seats.

Reardon said Linksys was also offering a range of pre-packaged services, such as extended warranty and 24/7 technical support, which resellers could on-sell to customers. It is also looking at introducing an applications development kit next year to boost the number of tools sitting on top of the Linksys One platform.

He said resellers could manage a customer's IP telephony and applications off-site via its single Connected Office interface. The platform also gave them the chance to increase revenue potential by combining voice and data capabilities.

"This gives VARs the opportunity to offer a converged solution without having to do additional training. They will have access to applications and services they have not had previously," Reardon said. "It's all about simplicity and faster deployment."


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