“Use it. Know it. Sell it.” That’s what Ken Snyder, emerging technology solutions manager at partner CDW, has to say about the Cisco Cius, the ultra-portable enterprise tablet that’s changing the way that businesses work.
With its integrated Wi-Fi, 4G data, 720p HD video, and interoperability with Cisco TelePresence systems, not to mention its inclusion of one-click access to WebEx meetings and AppHQ, the new application ecosystem built specifically for Cius, the Cius can be a powerful tool that can help customers collaborate and work from remote locations, both seamlessly and securely.
The Cius enables multiple opportunities for partners to drive sales, offer professional services and expand their customer base, according to Richard McLeod, Cisco’s senior director of collaboration sales in the Worldwide Partner Organization. He says there are opportunities for partners to upgrade their customers’ networks, particularly since it cuts across Cisco’s technology architectures: Collaboration, Data Center and Virtualization, and Borderless Networks.
And that’s definitely what I heard when I chatted with Ken, as well as with Steve Reese, director of solutions marketing for partner Nexus IS, Inc., about their experiences using the Cius and selling it to customers. Ken and Steve also offered advice to partners looking to include in the Cius in their portfolio.
Seamless Team Communications, Anywhere
Ken and his team have been using the Cius since February. They’re also excited to leverage it for field sales and marry it with Quad, making it an anytime, anywhere locator. According to Ken, the Cius “provides seamless communication in any way you want to use it.”
Steve agrees, noting that in his business, for example, if they have a site-walk, he can send over a pre-sales resource to take pictures and video with a Cius. That individual can then upload that information back into the infrastructure, reducing the costs of doing that job walk. This capability allows his skilled resources to be scalable.
Steve says that customer response has been very positive, with particular excitement around AppHQ, the Cius app store, and its ability to provide a business with approved apps at their fingertips. Ken says that he has had a lot of interest from customers, with many just waiting for the hardware to ship.
Both Ken and Steve see healthcare, education, public sector, and retail in particular as key areas in which the Cius can thrive. Steve provided the example of a store where a salesperson is equipped with a Cius and products are equipped with QR codes. If a customer were to show interest in a product, the sales rep can use Cius and a specific app from AppHQ to snap a picture of the QR code, which would bring up the manufacturer’s website, the product spec sheet, and the store’s inventory. In this scenario, the sales rep can become even more agile, and really change the sales process.
Driving Business Opportunities
Ken sees the Cius as a key driver for CDW’s sales. From a selling and services perspective, the Cius fits right into the Collaboration architecture and leverages his company’s existing wireless and unified communications practices. This means CDW can rapidly deploy the Cius for both enterprise and small customers.
Steve thinks that the Cius will enable him and Nexus IS to become more intimate with their customers. To deploy the Cius, Nexus IS will have to look at apps their customers are using and see how to automate some tasks. This means writing Android-based business apps that can run on the Cius, thereby helping customers with their workflow.
Apps Leading the Way
Speaking of apps, Steve says that they make the selling cycle much more cost-effective. For instance, if he has developed an app for customers, he can update it in one place: in AppHQ. According to Steve, “this becomes a true, much more nimble way to enhance the value for customers.”
Ken agrees, stating that “AppHQ is the key differentiator to drive customers.” Because AppHQ gives customers a simple Web page, a customer can choose which apps they want to publish, thus removing the complexity of managing devices with multiple and varied apps.
Advice for Partners
For those partners considering selling the Cius, Ken reiterated his “use it, know it, sell it” message. But from Steve’s perspective, he recommends that partners should figure out what they’re really going after.. “If you want to sell another endpoint, don’t bother. But if you want to become intimate with your customers and really help them, the Cius can be a great tool,” he said.
Steve also noted that as it is with a lot of evolving technologies, we are barely gleaning a flicker of the capacity that we’re really going to have in this tablet market. “The Cius is turning the tablet game into a sport. Games are for kids, and sport is for professionals. Now everyone is going to have to try to join. The Cius provides a huge opportunity,” he said.
So there you have it: Some really insightful perspectives from two Cisco partners that demonstrate that Cius not only presents partners with multiple opportunities to increase sales, but it’s a device that is changing the way businesses work.
If you’re looking for more information about the Cius, visit the Cisco Cius page on Partner Central (CCO login required). And be sure to check out AppHQ to see what apps are out there that demonstrate the power and the flexibility of the Cius.
Got any thoughts or questions about the Cius and how it will impact your business? Please share in the comments.