Cisco VAR Killing It Despite Making Next To Nothing On The Surveillance System

When I was with a big VMS manufacturer, my single largest dealer was a Cisco VAR that focused on schools. They sometimes would make next to nothing on the surveillance system knowing that they were killing it on the network side. This really ticked off the rest of the dealer community (they were a bit despised -- a fact that they kinda enjoyed), but at the end of the day, most realized their business model was pretty solid and were only angry because they couldn't do it themselves. And by the way -- they were also one of the most technically competent dealers in my network, as well, so the customers didn't suffer at all...quite the contrary.

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Insightful comment.

So what do people think? Is that a fringe case or is that a template for future surveillance industry success?

transfering cost's from one contract to another contract that you know you have locked up has been around forever. The days of just doing one thing in a company is going to become harder and harder in the bid market. as companies continue to diversify.

So just like manufacturers, do integrators need to become 'end to end solution' providers? :)

its not going to hurt you in what I am seeing and doing.

Adapt and change or watch your buisness die off. What ever little money there is in selling cameras currently will continue to drop in most instances.

I think there's merit in that.

Obviously selling cameras at 100% markup is not a great future plan.

The other approach I think is worth is becoming more like an accountant / lawyer / consultant where you only bill time and you focus on being a niche expert.

It's actually not a bad business plan, and may explain why Cisco VMS is still hanging around while being so derided. If some other integrator comes along and replaces the Cisco VMS with something better, so what? Cisco still got the networking business.

We had to and have become more diversified in our solutions. It's not just security anymore.

Didn't the customers suffer by, you know, having a Cisco VMS? Everything I have seen with them has been terrible.

Maybe, but what are you going to do? Write congress to have them pass a bill against Cisco VMS? From a strictly business point, it works for them. Cisco, not the customer of course. If anything it makes it might make it easier for another integrator to come in later with another product because most likely the customer experience can only go up. We've replaced a couple Cisco installations and it made the customer's experience better, so made us look better. Sometimes it helps having the other guy lower the bar, provided you can raise it.

This has been going on for years in the IT business. We used to sell servers, work stations and printers at razor thin margins. Then make it up on services, additions or even rebates (many years ago).

The strategy is not only to sell more profitable products or services but also position for future business. There is a high sales cost associated with selling to a new client. Alarm companies bought and sold all the tie based on an existing client list. It cost less to sell to an existing customer that it does a new one. Take a look at the percentage of wins from proposals to existing clients vs those to prospects.

We're a large IT company and offer end to end IT services. . We have just completed a green fields site where we supplied CISCO thoughout Cisco VSM 7.6 and CPAM physical security all integrated running off UCS platform, 160 doors and 190 cameras. Very happy with the outcome and performance of both VSM and CPAM. There is a really good business case to be a full solutions provider, as you add value throughout.

D, thanks for the feedback. Have you deployed previous versions of Cisco VSM? I am curious how much better or different you find the new 7.6 vs the older versions.