BT is hoping to dissipate channel conflict by fleshing out its plans to boost its reseller business with the appointment of Comstor as a strategic partner for its Integrator programme.
BT Indirect Channels Integrator (BICT) said that working with Comstor, a Cisco distributor, would help deliver a more profitable and sustainable business model for BT's channel partners in the small to medium sized enterprise (SME) market.
At the same time, the partnership is expected to lower the costs for IP-based network solutions for SMEs, as voice and data resellers will be able to offer a one-stop shop combining Cisco distribution capabilities and BT network services.
Resellers have accused BT of following an anti-channel strategy with the direct arm snatching the best business from resellers.
Tom Kelly, managing director of Xpert Systems, a BT partner and Cisco reseller, maintained that the alliance will help ease the relationship with resellers.
"We compete with BT directly and in the past we have not been able to do so effectively because of the levels of discounts BT can offer through its relationship with Cisco," he said.
"Now we have the opportunity to enjoy added benefits and discounts direct to the SME market as Comstor only sells Cisco products.
"It is the first time that two significant suppliers have worked together in this way to help resellers by saying: 'If you combine our products we'll give you an additional advantage.'"
Simon Minett, managing director at Comstor, said that the alliance would set a precedent. "BICT has been strongly supported by Cisco as an example of collaboration between service providers and distributors and represents a model it wants to expand and develop," he explained.
"We will be bundling product with services and acting as an agent with BT in this relationship. We will be offering a discount on hardware when bundled with BT lines."
John Thornhill, BT's general manager for UK Indirect Channels, said that the alliance would enable BT to offer a "much broader range of support for channel partners wanting to move into the solutions space".
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