Cisco Channel Leaders Bang the Drum for Next Moves
Question: How do you ensure channel partners embrace your cloud computing, managed services and SMB initiatives? Answer: Make sure you bang the drum for your partner program, using a predictable, repetitive beat. That’s the strategy at Cisco Systems Inc., which has been organizing multiple briefings with the media. Here’s the update.
Watch closely and you’ll see a different Cisco channel leader step up to the microphone for each briefing. First up: Keith Goodwin. More recently, Edison Peres. But the drumbeat doesn’t end there. Next up: Potential briefings with Wendy Bahr and Dave O’Callaghan.
Why all the briefings? Cisco is working hard to make sure the media and its channel partners understand the bigger picture. To understand where Cisco is heading next you need to briefly look back. In early July 2010, Senior VP Keith Goodwin described the evolution of Cisco’s partner organization. Around the same time Goodwin described how:
- Jim Sherriff would become Senior VP overlooking Cisco’s US and Canada Partner organization.
- Wendy Bahr would shift to a new Senior VP post, overlooking transformational partnerships.
- Dave O’Callaghan, a VP, would focus on worldwide commercial sales.
- And Edison Peres would become Senior VP, Worldwide Channels.
Those leaders, working with Goodwin, would focus on three key initiatives:
- innovate and invest in our industry-leading channels model, led by Peres;
- drive commercial and small business sales with innovative partner-led models, headed up by O’Callaghan; and
- build global and transformational partnerships, led by Bahr.
So far, so good. But Cisco wasn’t done. Sometimes you need to repeat you strategy to the media, especially bloggers. Folks like The VAR Guy have short memories and even shorter attention spans. With that reality in mind Cisco has been hosting regularly media briefings with its channel leaders.
From Keith Goodwin… to Edison Peres
In early October 2010, Goodwin stepped back to the microphone, describing how each of his lieutenants would march forward. By October 29, Peres was in the spotlight, sharing five key priorities with The VAR Guy. They included:
- Build capabilities for architectures and verticals: Peres is urging partners to move from a product orientation to architectural practice. That will allow partners to “drive architecture for competitive advantage.”
- Earn loyalty by optimizing a value exchange: The idea here is to ensure Cisco works with partners in a teamed way.
- Improved service area for ease and speed of doing business: The idea is to drive simplification in the partner program program. Simplified processes should lead to faster engagements.
- Enhance the partner services value proposition: Here again, Cisco hopes to help partners shift more and more of their revenues to services.
- Evolve the channel to new business models: This is where the cloud enters the picture. Cisco sees opportunities for cloud resellers, cloud builders and cloud providers. (The VAR Guy does, too.)
On a personal front, Peres is focusing on simplicity, passion and future opportunities. He wants to make sure Cisco is the easiest company to work with; he wants partners to enjoy win-win relationships; and he wants partners to evolve profitably through Cisco’s support.
By now, you’re seeing the pattern. Goodwin and Peres have shared their respective visions. Next up, potentially:
- Wendy Bahr’s vision on transformational partnerships.
- Dave O’Callaghan’s focus on worldwide commercial sales.
The VAR Guy can’t make any guarantees but he expects Bahr to discuss go-to-market strategies in the cloud within the next few weeks. And O’Callaghan will likely describe Cisco’s long awaited Commercial/SMB channel strategy update.
Neither Bahr nor O’Callaghan work in a vacuum. A case in point: O’Callaghan’s commercial strategy will likely include cloud components that align with Bahr’s strategy, The VAR Guy believes.
Whether you partner with Cisco or compete with the networking giant, you’ve gotta concede: Cisco is pretty darn organized. Since announcing its channel changes in July 2010, Goodwin and his team have delivered a steady drumbeat of updates to the media.
By now you know all the key players in the Cisco band. But stay tuned: Bahr and O’Callaghan have yet to have their turn at the microphone… The VAR Guy is curious to know exactly what they’ll say.
Oh, and what will Cisco do for an encore? Keep an eye on Barcelona, Spain, where Cisco will host its next Partner Velocity Conference in December 2010.