Cisco is cutting the number of distributors that buy direct to four globally, although its three UK partners - C2000/Azlan, Comstor and Ingram Micro - will be unaffected.
vnunet.com has learned that that along with Tech Data they will be named as exclusive direct-buying partners internationally.
In October 2001 Cisco reduced its direct distribution partners in Europe from 17 to seven to help it "manage availability more effectively".
The acquisition of Azlan by Tech Data reduced this by one more.
Now it has followed through with the promise it made at its Partner Summit in April, to unveil its new distribution strategy this summer.
When asked about its distributor plans the company said: "New strategy details will be unveiled in late July and thus we cannot provide further comments or confirm speculations on specific changes at this time.
"Paris Arey, recently appointed world-wide vice president of distribution strategy, [will] be leading an initiative to implement a new approach to distribution at Cisco."
But the change comes as no surprise to the channel.
Clive Hailstone, general manager, Cisco, at C2000, said Cisco's use of three partners in the US "works well".
The company has been brave in reducing its distribution tier, he said. "A couple of years ago Cisco had over 50 distributors buying direct in Europe, which was too many.
"To let so many distributors go is risky but it does not seem to have affected its numbers." Other vendors should take a leaf out of Cisco's book, he added.
Des Lekerman, managing director at Cisco premier partner Eurodata Systems, agreed. "This is a good move because it helps Cisco focus on and support partners," he said.
"Streamlining its processes and keeping management costs low is also a good thing for a company with a large channel such as Cisco."
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