Cisco Meraki finally comes to D&H Canada

There has been a six month lag between D&H signing on Cisco Meraki in the U.S. and its availability in Canada, but the company thinks their partners – many of whom haven’t been selling cloud at all – will find it worth the wait.

Greg Tobin, general manager at D&H Canada

SMB-focused distributor D&H Canada has announced that they have signed on with Cisco to carry their Meraki line of cloud-based wireless routing solutions and management services in Canada. The company sees it as extremely significant for their partner base because for many of them, Meraki won’t simply be an enhancement to their cloud practice. It will CREATE their cloud practice.

“The Meraki business has done very well in the U.S. since it was introduced earlier this year,” said Greg Tobin, general manager at D&H Canada. “Meraki is, however, a bit of a different application for a lot of them. There’s an education process they have to go through about cloud applications and remote monitoring, and once they learn the basics of that, they tend to do well at it.”

While the larger solution providers in North America have pretty much all made the move to the cloud, Tobin said that it’s a different ball game with the smaller partners who make up the vast bulk of D&H Canada’s clientele.

“People are creatures of habit,” Tobin said. “They do what they have done in the past, and they have been comfortable selling on-prem solutions. The customer base for these types of routing solutions that our partners sell to is probably about 90-10 on-prem to cloud in terms of their deployments. Many people still want to have on-prem. Some people have a fear of latency issues. Some people – misguided people – have security concerns, although the cloud today is typically safer than on-prem.”

Tobin sees Cisco Meraki as a door-opener for many partners, who will not only be able to convince customers of its value, but who will be able to use it to significantly enhance – or start – a cloud practice.

“This cloud application lets you remotely manage and scale very easily, and we expect that it will open new avenues and revenue streams for them,” he stated. “It can become a significant building block to their overall building practices, building out the cloud and managed services for their customers.”

The Cisco Meraki wireless access points accommodate robust Wi-Fi networks to allow connectivity over distributed campuses that are centrally managed through the cloud.

“It’s these separate branches, separate campuses that are really ideal for Meraki,” Tobin said. “Our own offices here in the D&H Brampton facility would be a good example of that. We see just as many applications for separate branches in Canada as in the U.S.” These include the retail, hospitality, healthcare, education, and facility management verticals.

Tobin said the delay in getting Meraki into D&H Canada had nothing to do with the opportunity, and everything to do with the way Meraki is procedurally set up.

“In the U.S., they use the Global Pricing System of Cisco,” he said. “Meraki only does business in U.S. currency. In Canada, Meraki is not part of the Cisco price list yet, so we have to do business directly with Meraki. As a result, it took longer to get set up, to be able to process the orders. It’s all transparent to the customer though. They don’t see any of that.”

Meraki will add to a Cisco business that is already a top performer for D&H Canada.

“Most people think of heavy iron when they think Cisco, but they have purpose-built products for SMBs,” Tobin said. “We have more market share in Cisco SBTG [Small Business Technology Group] than any other distributor. We sell Cisco networking, switches, routers, collaboration solutions, videoconferencing, communications equipment – just not the sort of products that a telco would purchase.”

The Cisco Meraki solutions will be offered as part of D&H Canada’s ongoing Cisco PRO enablement program, which will include training and specialized resources to support D&H Canada’s Cisco partners.

“The training will be available through multiple points,” Tobin said. “One is face-to-face engagement, by holding city workshops in a region with dedicated sessions of training for 25-35 people. A second is webinars. The third is the availability of pre and post-sales supports team to handhold, and the fourth s reseller technology shows with dedicated training sessions. The amount of training involved is not extensive.”