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Cisco plans OIP rollout

Networking giant Cisco will extend its Opportunity Incentive Programme (OIP) across EMEA after running a pilot in major European markets during the last quarter.

Networking giant Cisco will extend its Opportunity Incentive Programme (OIP) across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) after running a pilot in major European markets during the last quarter. The scheme will be rolled out in two phases during September and October 2004 to all participating countries across EMEA. OIP aims to enhance partner profitability when they identify and register new business opportunities.

OIP provides financial incentives that reward partners for their pre-sales investment linked to securing sales opportunities in specific market segments. OIP is currently focused on the commercial market in EMEA representing medium enterprise, midmarket and small and medium business (SMB) sales opportunities. The partner initiative involves deal registration and includes rebates for channel partners that are first to register and close a new business opportunity.

“With more than 90% of Cisco business going through our channel partners, it is imperative to our future growth that we create programs that improve partner profitability and drive mutual success,” said Edzard Overbeek, vice president, commercial, channels and distribution EMEA at Cisco. “The Opportunity Incentive Programme is designed to help enable Cisco and its channel partners to increase market share in selected market segments. At this time, we're focusing primarily on the commercial space as it is a key focus for Cisco in our full year 2005, which started August 1, 2004.”

Cisco launched a pilot of OIP on May 24th in Germany, France, Poland, the UK and the Netherlands. In total, 458 channel partners registered for OIP during the pilot and registered 439 new business opportunities between them. Cisco approved 267 opportunities with business opportunities involving internet protocol (IP) communications, network security and wireless technologies having the highest sell-in rate.

To qualify for participation in Cisco’s OIP scheme, EMEA partners must meet specific criteria including holding registered or certified status. The minimum size of business opportunity that can be registered for the programme is US$5,000.

The OIP scheme aims to help partners offset the significant costs that can be incurred during the lengthy sales cycle involved with new technology solutions. Cisco claims that channel partners will be able to use incentive rebates to showcase their value proposition to customers, cover pre-sales costs and improve their profitability.

Once a partner registers a lead with Cisco, the opportunity is crosschecked to make sure it is not in Cisco’s sales forecast and has not been registered by another channel partner. Opportunities approved by Cisco are valid for 90 days, during which a partner must close the opportunity to receive the OIP discount or rebate.

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