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The We’re Listening Blog Series: 3 Way RMA Process Speeds Up Service Contract Updates

Over the past few months, the We’re Listening blog has brought you ongoing news about updates to our RMA processes, and the improvements keep on coming. I’ve asked Jim Fuller, Senior Director of Services Entitlement, to return to the blog to share details on the new 3-Way RMA process.  The new process represents a significant improvement for many of our customers and partners, and in the spirit of the We’re Listening blog, was undertaken by Jim’s team in direct response to customer and partner feedback. Share your thoughts on other ways we can simplify your interactions with Cisco, and your suggestions may end up as new capabilities featured on the blog!

jafuller By Guest Contributor Jim Fuller

Our partners provide constant feedback to tell us how we can improve their experience doing business with Cisco. One of our partners’ number one requests is to help them create an RMA via a single step, versus opening a support case with Cisco to remedy contract updates as a result of RMA transactions.

We heard your feedback, and if you’re a partner who “self-spares” (spares inventory from your depot) or a customer who contracts with a partner who self-spares, your Return Material Authorization (RMA) process just became easier. We’ve introduced Partners 3-Way RMA/Self-Sparing.

With this new process, service contracts are automatically updated with the associated serial number swaps when processing 3-Way RMAs.  Available now, the new capabilities provide the following benefits:

1. Delivery of an automated RMA process that supports 3-Way RMA transactions at the time of RMA creation

2. Two serial numbers can now be entered at the time of RMA creation for those partners that self-spare, via the Service Order RMA Tool (SORT):

  • The serial number of the claimed defective part from customer network
  • The serial number of the spare part used by the partner to replace the claimed defective part on the customer’s network

3. Ability to minimize or even eliminate partner overhead to monitor and coordinate contract swaps

Previously, the Partner Self-Sparing model was not systematically supported making equipment difficult to track. Without a standardized process, contract and installed base updates had to be performed manually via a support case process. Now, systematic contract updates will occur at the time of RMA shipment reflecting the spare part (replacing the claimed defective part) on contract, making it easier to do business with Cisco and drastically reducing support cases.

To date, more than 175 partners globally have been enabled, with an RMA success rate of 95%. In FY14, we’re focused on reducing contract cycles and the number of customer escalations even further.

Please contact your Cisco Partner Support Development Manager (PSDM) for further information about enabling these new capabilities in support of your 3-Way RMA/Self-Sparing needs.

Regards,
Jim Fuller

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New SMB Specialization Helps Partners Succeed in SMB Space

Today, Cisco introduces a newly-defined Small and Midsize Business (SMB) Specialization, an improved and combined version of the existing Small Business and Small Business Foundation Specializations. This evolution captures several market and technology trends critical to your customer’s needs, and positions existing and future Cisco SMB Specialized partners to succeed in the midmarket space.

The SMB Specialization curriculum has been revised to mirror the architectural go-to-market strategy employed by Cisco’s Advanced-level specializations. This new curriculum positions our SMB partners to sell across all technologies. The major focus for the enablement tracks are Borderless Networks, Collaboration, and Data Center, as well as updated Services training. And for the first time, Cisco introduces enablement focused on Cloud , SMB-level Cisco TelePresence® products and formal virtualization and data center switching.

What else is changing with the new SMB Specialization?  Read More »

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Relationships, Relationships, Relationships: Cisco at Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference

When I think of why technology solution providers should attend Microsoft’s WPC, I decided to pay homage to one of Steve Ballmer’s mantras with my blog title.

Last year, at Microsoft’s WPC in Toronto, I was approached by KEMP Technologies (a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner). They gave me an elevator pitch on their products and explained they were interested in partnering with Cisco. Their load balancing solutions sounded interesting and anything that might sell more UCS servers sounded like a win win to me. After all, Cisco didn’t become the #2 blade server vendor worldwide1 by itself. I told them I would try and find the right contact for them.

A few emails on my part and a lot of hard work by the Cisco and KEMP teams, a year later KEMP is now IVT Certified for UCS. While not an exclusive relationship, we can now offer our customers another excellent choice.

Stop by the Cisco booth (#1401) and talk with the datacenter team or KEMP’s booth (#1725). You never know what might come of it.

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1. Source:  IDC Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, Q1 2013 Revenue Share, May 2013

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How Cisco Can Help Partners With Business Transformation Challenges

If you’ve met Edison Peres, SVP, worldwide channels or heard him address the audience at Cisco Partner Summit before, you know he’s all about partner evolution — specifically, how Cisco can help partners grapple with a unique period of technology and business model changes in the IT industry, and transform their businesses to meet those changes.

During his General Session discussion on Day 1 of last week’s Partner Summit, Edison urged partners to focus on three priorities: making hybrid IT a foundation of your value proposition, leading with solutions and professional services, and transitioning your sales teams to address new buying centers. Business transformation, Edison said, in one of the most repeated (and re-tweeted) quotes of the week, “is kind of like remodeling an airplane while it’s flying and there are people on it. We know it’s not easy. But if you focus on these three areas today, you will be well on your way to a successful tomorrow.”

Let’s hear a bit more from Edison on how Cisco wants partners to think about these changes:

You can check out our day-by-day summary of Cisco Partner Summit or grab our executive summary of news and announcements But let’s review some of what Edison, Bruce Klein, SVP, Worldwide Partner Organization, and other Cisco executives announced last week to help partners with this often-challenging evolution. Read More »

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Your Cisco Partner Summit To-Do List

After months of planning and preparation, Cisco Partner Summit officially kicks off tomorrow morning here in beautiful Boston. Whether you’re attending live or joining us through Cisco Virtual Partner Summit, here are 10 things to remember as we get underway.  Read More »

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