Cisco's distributors and resellers needed better insight into when the service contracts they sell to customers expire so they could more effectively renew them. The goal was to automate management of the contracts and use analytics to identify which ones were due to end soon -- information that wasn't easy to track in the high-volume IT market, says John Richard, Cisco's director of Americas distribution service sales.
To solve the problem, the networking vendor launched the Cisco Partner Annuity Initiative and worked with MaintenanceNet to develop a system that mines data on service contracts and provides that information to distributors and resellers. The system is hosted by MaintenanceNet, and resellers and distributors can easily access it to track contracts and contact customers when it's time to renew.
The main challenge with developing the platform was handling the data, says Jed Shasteen, operations manager for Americas distribution service sales at Cisco, noting that project staffers had to take "disparate data and organize the whole company around a source of truth."
"We brought together Cisco's data and our partners' data, improved it and then gave it back to them without relying on spreadsheets or emails," he says.
Angie Beltz, vice president of product marketing for the Cisco Solutions Group at Tech Data Corp., says her company has seen an estimated 10% uptick in customer renewals since it began using the Cisco platform.