I resent the fact that Cisco partners get more information than Customers on Cisco’s website. I think this shows who Cisco thinks the Customer really is. But what special powers do resellers have that makes them more effective ? How does withholding information from Customers give a better outcome ?
My quick thoughts ? Many IT resellers are not competent enough to be business and need a head start to be useful to customers. Without some sort of “special needs” assistance, they wouldn’t be in the race.
Is that too harsh ? IBM and HP don’t rely on resellers to win business and do just fine that way. IBM & HP resellers have to be good enough to survive, not propped up with remedial programs for poor practices. So why does Cisco do it ?
The Reverse Condition
Resellers provide a valuable resource to customers by providing a service that Cisco cannot. For example, resellers offer mixed vendor platform support – say HP servers on Cisco networks, or Windows Desktop support as part of a full spectrum service. A reseller has a unique blend of multidisciplinary skills that give the Customer end to end support.
Cisco wants to work with these partners to provide solutions to customers, in preference to dealing with customers directly.
The EtherealMind View
The word “reseller” tells you a lot about the nature of the business – they buy something and sell it on. Although there are partners who significantly add value to customer networks, my experience is that the vast majority do not. Some thoughts:
- They don’t make enough profit to invest in engineers or reward staff appropriately. Cisco has screwed reseller margins down to levels that no business can readily support.
- Resellers tend go out of business every five to ten years because their value is limited and thus are not rewarded with good profits by Customers.
- Resellers often switch vendors according to where the profits are and abandon customers in the process and thus lose customer loyalty. In the long term, Customers stop trusting the reseller.
If Cisco really believed in the power of the reseller and their own great products and pricing, they wouldn’t have a sales force keeping tabs on what I’m doing. Those phone calls from the Cisco Account Manager to check when the next purchase order is coming shouldn’t be necessary if the reseller industry is working well. The quarterly check-in from the overworked Sales Engineer wouldn’t sound like a “tick in the box” for his quarterly assessment.
I’m a Customer, I want the best possible support and service for my money. I’m pretty sure that for some or even most of us, it’s isn’t by using a reseller.
Where are MY choices ?