Monthly Archives: July 2007

Cisco’s new SMB ‘Select’ Specialisation.

I have had a number of enquires regarding the new Cisco SMB ‘Select’ Specialisation, what it is and the process for getting certified, so for those of you who are interested here is a quick guide.

Cisco SMB ‘Select’ Specialisation has been revised for those partners who wish to sell Cisco’s new Smart Business Communication System (SBCS) suit of products – which includes the UC500. In short a total of four exams must be passed: 

  1. Foundation and Security for AM
  2. Foundation and Security for Engineer
  3. SBCS for Account Manager
  4. SBCS for Engineer 

Cisco’s rational behind this training is to first of all make sure their partners have the foundation competencies to recommend, install and implement and voice and UC solution and also to offer specialisation training which does not require a heavy investment from the channel. Training has been divided into two streams, account manager and engineer (however a single person can do both) and will be available on Cisco’s Partner E-Learning Connection (PEC) on August 1st, 2007. The four training modules will take approximately Estimated 29 hours to complete and online each exam will cost US$20. All four exams will be available as online exams which will replace the current Proctored Exams. This means partners do not need to book these exams through Cisco’s testing vendors. Partners can simply click on the exams from the PEC website to register. 

Partners that want to resell SBCS/UC500 products must pass all four exams as stated above. They must then apply for SMB Specialisation via Cisco’s Certification and Specialisation application tool (

Partners are only eligible to sell SBCS products once their application has been approved by Cisco. PEC (CCO login required): After logging in into PEC, partners can use this URL to get to the SMB training: 

Points to remember: 

  1. Cisco SMB ‘Select’ Specialisation will be available on Cisco’s Partner E-Learning Connection (PEC) on August 1st, 2007. 
  2. Four exams must be passed. Two (2) exams each for account manager and engineer, however one person can do all four (4) and each exam will cost US$20.
  3.  Registered Partners – once their SMB Specialisation is approved, they should apply for ‘Select’ Certification. 
  4. Premier certified partners that choose to be SMB Specialised, do not need to apply for Select Certification (because the higher certification level will apply). 
  5. Partners that are already specialised in Advanced UC & Express UC can resell SBCS/UC500.  If you need support with regards to the application process – you can call Cisco’s Partner Relationship Team on 1800 612 452.

 Happy Certifying!


Social Software Impact on Business

We have seen a transition from the web over the last few years from being purely transactional. Today in the next evolution of the web, called web 2.0, we are starting to see growing communities where individuals can easily share and collaborate on information and where individuals can have their 15min of fame. 

We have all heard of MySpace, You Tube, Flickr, Blogs & Wiki’s…. These are all example where individuals can share their personal profiles and interests (such as MySpace), where you can share video files and Pictures to friends and family… or to the world – using You Tube and Flickr… or to provide a forum where individuals can express their opinion on any area of expertise and receive feedback from individuals with similar views – blogs and wiki’s etc, etc. 

What about ‘Sell-a-band’ and ‘Second life’? Both of these communities where you can emerge yourself into a virtual world or have influence and share in the success of the next biggest rock band. 

Ok a quick overview… 

Sell-a-band is a music industry concept designed to remove the barriers for struggling bands to get have their music heard, to develop a fan base and to have their music professionally produced. The key difference is that the success of each band depends on the number of fans (5000) and or investors they can accumulate over time.  Anyone here who would like to invest in the success of a band could make a visit to, listen to a number of bands who are ranked similar to a top 50 chart and spend your hard earned dollars to invest in their success. In return you will receive ongoing royalties from any music downloads and CD sales. 

Who is happy with their current life…? Second life is an online virtual world which provides you with just that a second opportunity to do something over, to test try a new business opportunity that you are thinking about getting into or to escape into a virtual world.  

Well that’s the business reason; of course second life like any other online community has more than its fair share of participants who are motivated purely by the excitement and the opportunity to ‘live out’ their sexual fantasies with complete strangers, but that’s for another discussion. 

You may have heard of Second Life on 60 minutes a couple of weeks back… where individuals are spending and making a lot of money within this virtual world. A couple of examples of examples which came out of the 60 minutes where… one guy who spent $100,000 (USD) on an asteroid off the main world… he makes his return on investment by building a nightclub and resort on the asteroid where other visitors can visit. He also offers a hunting safari service for those of us who want to go around hunting and killing alien creatures… and of course we pay real money to do this. 

Getting from the main world to the asteroid has created employment opportunities for those of us who fancy ourselves as Han Solo who are employed (yes with real $$) to fly people to and from the asteroid…and of course we all need to look good, so any one of us could start a fashion label, or work in a nightclub as a barman, deejay, own a restaurant or become a property developer, model or actor… you get the picture. 

This maybe a hard concept to grasp but the idea is that individuals are getting the opportunity to experience a second life… and to make money doing it… and businesses are seeing the value of it. Consider this research report from Gartner last year…. 

Enterprise social software will be the biggest new workplace technology success story of this decade. 30% of enterprises will openly sponsor internal MySpace-like social sharing spaces to help employees find others with similar interest, skills, backgrounds and experiences. Gartner, “Predicts 2007 – Big Changes ahead in the high performance workplace”, Dec 5,2006

So how are businesses leveraging this technology? Businesses are seeing the benefits of utilising these new social trends in social software by investing in land and premises within these worlds to simplify the way there employees collaborate and share information. Today we are seeing retail chains like Star Bucks who are employing professional 3D modellers to design and build shops to be placed on each street corner within second life.  

We are seeing universities including Princeton and Harvard Law School who are offering online lectures where students can attend for free. We are seeing large companies like Cisco, Microsoft and IBM to name a few who are conducting world wide product releases and presentations to their internal staff within second life, where all employees can make their way there in a virtual world… and the payoffs… it dramatically reducing transportation and travel cost and providing ease of access…. because you don’t need IT support to schedule a web conferencing session…. all you need is an internet connection.