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CEO of Brit biz Phoenix plans to 'ram-raid' old friend, new enemy Cisco

Firm rises from ashes of terminated Cisco deal clutching Huawei Gold badge

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The boss at Brit services provider Phoenix IT Group wants to "ram raid" former vendor partner Cisco.

The UK biz is currently bulking out its portfolio, with Chinese networking firm Huawei Enterprise the latest addition.

In the autumnal months last year, Cisco wrote to 1,000 firms across EMEA telling them it was withdrawing authorisation to sell its products because they had flouted Ts&Cs, with Cisco Gold badge partner Phoenix among them.

In the case of Phoenix, Cisco said the ending of the long standing partnership was a termination of convenience.

This was a costly blow for Phoenix, coming after a botched restructure under one-time chief exec Dave Courtley, the discovery and correction of accounting errors, shrinking sales and multi-million pound losses.

Under the guidance of new CEO Steve Vaughan, a man billed as a turnaround expert, the firm recently scored an HP Platinum accreditation, has Gold tier status with Avaya and now the same with Huawei Enterprise.

He told us Phoenix will carry the entire networking line card via its managed services wing - an area of the business previously branded as Servo.

"Huawei is very keen to have partners on the ground in the mid-sized customer space. The pricing is extraordinarily competitive, not just the buy price but total cost of ownership," he claimed.

Phoenix is already working on the development of an MPLS service for long distance network routing.

According to Huawei's "Find a Partner" website, there is only one other Gold partner in the UK: Mason IT.

Huawei's wider channel-building plans are believed to have been impeded by Cisco when it leaned on distie partner Azlan to refrain from going ahead with a partnership with the Chinese firm in Europe.

In the last financial year, Phoenix revealed its existing order pipeline had dropped by £8m due to the Cisco issue.

Vaughan said he was working with HP, Avaya and Huawei in a bid to "replicate what's been lost".

Asked if Phoenix will work with Cisco again, he said:

"Who knows, but if you read the press Cisco is not having a very easy time of it themselves. The best possible outcome will be... I have existing and new partnerships and I'll go and ram raid them. Why wouldn't I?"

In a statement sent to The Channel, Dave Poskett, UK and Ireland veep for Huawei Enterprise Business Group, said the company is trying to develop key vertical markets.

See The Channel next week for an in-depth interview with Vaughan. ®

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