Cisco Systems has signed Compaq Computer Australia as a Gold Certified Partner, sending an ominous warning to the channel.
After a year of internal development, training and preparation, Compaq becomes one of five Gold Certified companies, joining integrators Com Tech Communications, Equant Integration Services, Logical Networks and NetStar Networks.
Under the agreement, Compaq's Global Services Division will provide a full range of network implementation services and support for Cisco customers in Australia and New Zealand, including 24 x 7 customer support.
The move further cements the alliance between one of the largest server manufacturers, Compaq, and arguably the world's largest networking manufacture Cisco. In doing so, the deal calls into question the leverage Compaq's professional services, coupled with the manufacturer's own product lines, will now take to the table when tendering for new contracts.
Compaq invested significantly in skilling up its engineers to the Cisco Certified Internet Engineer level as well as reaching the appropriate sales and support benchmarks. "The certification strengthens the already strong relationship between Cisco and Compaq and will provide better service for the complex networking needs of corporate customers," said Cisco Australia's managing director, Terry Walsh.
Liz Lawson, regional manager, national sales/SMB for Cisco, claims the partnership represents a "tremen-dous opportunity" for Cisco to build on its relationship with the computer manufacturer.
Although Cisco has been pushing its Gold accreditation in the industry of late, Compaq took the initiative to become certified and, according to Lawson, was an obvious move for the company locally. "[Compaq] has been a Gold partner with us in other parts of the world so I think it was really a logical step."
The move comes at a time when Compaq has been actively driving its professional services, and Lawson assured ARN the signing of Compaq will not have a negative impact on the other Gold partners.
"I don't think it will affect our other partners. IBM and HP are also partners, not Gold partners, but they are all moving into services. I think we'll see all the traditional vendors building their services business in the future," claims Lawson.
"I don't see a conflict. They [other gold partners] play in different areas. There may be some overlap but there are areas where Compaq won't," she continued.
Com Tech's Darren Lonstein, director of technical marketing, is unphased by Compaq being upgraded to Gold status. "Compaq has been involved in services since its acquisition of Digital. There have been times when we've come up against them, and there have been other times when we've partnered. We don't anticipate it being any different," Lonstein said. "It can only help build Cisco's business in the market overall," he added.