All Cisco resellers will need to pass new accreditation levels to sell into the small and medium business (SME) market but 3Com claims its SME scheme will be simpler and better for European resellers.
Cisco aims to win more of the SME market with its changes, which apply worldwide. It plans to add to its rigorous Premier, Gold and Silver channel certification programme.
The vendor said it will extend Cisco Premier, Gold and Silver certification levels but did not give any details. "Through completing additional levels of certification, resellers will also be able to offer a broader range of Cisco products," the company said in a statement.
Steve Behm, vice president of worldwide channels at Cisco, claimed the additions to the networking company?s reseller support programme show its commitment to SMEs and resellers. "Now we are offering our resellers additional support, products and training," he said.
Cisco?s arch-rival 3Com set up a small business operation in December 1996 and Chuck Yort, director of the operation, said 3Com is the only company with the breadth of networking solutions to cater for the SME market.
3Com also announced a small business partner accreditation programme to its US resellers on Wednesday, for those selling to companies with less than 100 staff. "We take a different approach," Yort said. "Our programme is not a quick worldwide roll out - in Europe there are more local issues and a similar programme will launch there in June or July."
Steve Pataky, worldwide channel development director at 3Com, said his company?s programme is not a re-packaged version of the medium-sized business accreditation. "Cisco Gold is tough. With us, there are no tough [reseller] training requirements, you don?t have to buy in a certain place or commit to volume."
Ron Stella, sales and marketing VP at Cisco reseller MC2, said Cisco has addressed difficulties in the SME arena and another Var said it now has the tools to appeal to SMEs. Cisco has also extended Smartnet, its Internet-based support scheme, to SMEs.
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