ScanSource Reshuffles Cisco Business

Cisco's distributor, Scansource, is being repositioned so that it can include the company's voice, video and collaboration solutions.

The whole Cisco practice will be moved by ScanSource from its Security unit to its Catalyst Telecom unit which focuses on unified communications collaboration. In this past, only Cisco security and networking gear was part of the Cisco practise.

By moving Cisco resources, ScanSource's Security unit will migrate to the Catalyst Telecom unit, and will also include ScanSource's internal Cisco specialists. This move is expected to make room for the extra voice, video and collaboration products of the Catalyst portfolio, which Cisco has to offer.

The vice president of merchandising at ScanSource Catalyst, Mike Ferney, stated that WebEx and the mid-market focused Business Edition 6000, both of which are Cisco collaboration products, will be available to Catalyst resellers straight away.

It also appears that this is the first time in ScanSource and Cisco's six-year partnership that the former is providing Cisco's collaboration tools. According to Ferney, the move to include Cisco collaboration products in the Catalyst unit comes from the fact that the Cisco collaboration suite is much stronger and integrated than before. The Catalyst unit already offers collaboration solutions from vendors including Avaya, Polycom and Motorola.

Ferney said: "The timing right now is right for a couple for reasons. First, from a product perspective, [Cisco's] voice and video portfolios have been distinct and have not really integrated up until now. But Business Edition 6000 really represents the first truly converged product, with voice and video on a single platform, and, for us, that's a great new offering."

Furthermore, the introduction of the company's new Express Collaboration Specialization in February has encouraged the new Cisco and Catalyst partnership. The Express Collaboration Specialization from Cisco is a fast-track program designed to offer partners the opportunity to earn Premier-level collaboration certification.

Ferney added: "Between the [Cisco] programs and the products coming together at this point around collaboration, it's kind of a unique time. And it seemed like a good time for us to step in and offer our value-added services."

Solution providers will also be provided with a variety of value-added resources and services through Catalyst Telecom, and these will be related to Cisco's collaboration suite. Access will be provided to Catalyst Telecom's FastQuote tool for facilitating and accelerating the quoting process for solution providers.

Catalyst's network assessment can also be strengthened by solution providers that are accessing collaboration tools from Cisco. This is particularly relevant for the testing of IP voice and video solutions that operate on a customer's network, as well as ScanSource's internal team of Cisco specialists and design engineers.

By including Catalyst Telecom in its operations, Cisco has stated that it will speed up its push into the midmarket, which is something that Cisco has intended to do with new SMB-focused products like Business Edition 6000.

The senior director of Cisco's Worldwide Collaboration Channel Sales, Richard McLeod, said: "This is part of Cisco's increasing expansion into the midmarket space. We are investing heavily there. The market seems to be embracing our portfolio and we are excited to have ScanSource and their partner network help us continue that growth."

The president of president of Glen Burnie, Maryland-based Skyline Technology Solutions (a solution provider), Brian Holsonbake, expressed anticipation of Catalyst Telecom's provision of Cisco's collaboration tools, especially because it means that Skyline is now able to access the full suite of Cisco solutions from a single distributor.

Holsonbake said: "It streamlines our process, and it's one less place to have to go to get Cisco products. We sell a lot of data already that we procure through Catalyst, so instead of having to go to other distributors [for collaboration], we can just do it all through Catalyst." (CY) Link


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