Cisco signs 4 firms to be GSA resellers

Cisco Systems Inc. last week announced that it signed on four General Services Administration resellers that will exclusively sell the company's internetworking products on GSA's Schedule B/C.

BTG Inc., Innova Communications, Pulsar Data Systems Inc. and Sylvest Management Systems Corp. will resell Cisco's product line. Pulsar and Sylvest offer an 8(a) vehicle.

This latest move reflects Cisco's focus on improving its relationship with channel partners overall, said James Massa, director of federal operations at Cisco. Signing on GSA schedule holders "will make it a lot easier to do business and make it easier to purchase equipment," he said.

The removal of maximum order limits and the easing of GSA buying rules have made the schedule a more attractive way of selling to the government for vendors such as Cisco. "The GSA schedule has become more viable," Massa said. "The GSA schedule in the past was one of the vehicles the government had to acquire Cisco products. We didn't de-emphasize it in the past, but it wasn't as competitive as other things out there. Now it is."

Steve LeCompte, vice president of IDC Government Market Services, said Cisco held its own schedule from mid-1991 to mid-1994 and had revenue in both 1992 and 1993 of more than $10 million. "I think they generally have found [indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity] contracts and definitive contracts more attractive as selling vehicles," LeCompte said. "Usually a router requires services to go with it, and often they have been sold on integration contracts or contracts that offer integration services."

The issue now for Cisco, LeCompte said, is that "if the GSA schedule is the fastest-growing avenue for selling IT products into the federal government, they don't want to miss out on any future growth."

Rene LeVigne, vice president of integration services at Sylvest, said being chosen by Cisco "complements what we're doing in networking. We were already working with Cisco and sell their products and have Cisco-certified engineers on our staff. This give us a significant vehicle in which to do business."

Innova, which held Cisco's GSA schedule in 1994-1995, can more easily update and modify products on the schedule now that vendors can negotiate multiple-year contracts, said Mike Edelman, director of systems integration at Innova. The four resellers' contracts with Cisco will run until March 1999.

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