Small-to-medium resellers and integrators will play a key role in a new Cisco-led initiative to educate small-to-medium business on the benefits of adopting the internet.
Cisco, AAPT, IBM and the Commonwealth Bank launched the Business E-fficiency Solutions program yesterday which, according to Terry Walsh, managing director of Cisco, will also include resellers, integrators and regional ISPs.
Some partners expected to join the initiative include Supple Search and Keycorp.
The program will be kick-started by a nationwide road show in July where the companies and their partners will visit 16 cities and towns across the country to showcase their products and solutions.
According to executives from the headlining companies, the program is not designed to generate new customers for the organisation, but is an educational program to help more SMBs get online.
"We are not trying to beat people around the ears (about the internet) . . . we are trying to be a bit responsible and educate them. Whether they choose to adopt our solutions is up to them," Walsh said.
He said that 30 per cent of Cisco's total revenues in Australia are generated from the SMB sector.
Walsh said SMBs have a crucial role in the economic health of Australia, which will largely depend on the nation's success in the global internet economy. "It is imperative for Australia to accelerate the adoption of the internet economy," he said. "I do believe SMBs ignore the internet at their own peril."According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 60 per cent of Australian businesses are staffed with less than 100 employees. While 75 per cent of SMBs use the internet for displaying product information, less than 10 per cent offer e-commerce solutions such as sales and transactions, according to research group IDC.
As part of the ongoing program, SMBs will have access to a "marketplace" website containing information on solutions and products and where to get them.