Posts tagged ‘Beth Vanni’

Life at Apple after Steve Jobs

Will channels ever hold its own for investment and innovation?

Beth Vanni – Vice President

Apple stands at a crossroads. They are the only major IT vendor that has it all – the cool computing devices, the operating system, and the server and storage technology to run the backoffice. Their thriving community of ISVs and developers is a huge asset…but what most people don’t know is that Apple has a strong, focused channel of indirect partners that help it get to market effectively. In the post-Jobs Apple, the question is whether they’ll finally start to really leverage it to keep their place at the top. (more…)

November 22, 2011 at 9:36 pm Leave a comment

Back to the Future

Cisco’s Partner-Led SMB Model Promises New Customer and Partner Value

Beth Vanni – Vice President, Amazon Consulting

Whenever Cisco talks about new investments in partnering programs or support, it’s always a déjà vu experience for me. They invest so much already and have so many sales and marketing tools for partners, it’s a bit of a brain teaser to remember what’s new. But, there are a few gems of support announced in their enhanced SMB Partner-Led sales strategy that remind me of the infamous “flux capacitor” scene from the movie Back to the Future.

Andrew Sage, the company’s newly promoted VP of Worldwide Partner-Led Sales, brings a great legacy to his new position. He’s been studying how to make Cisco successful with small (really, truly small <100 user) companies for several years. That’s made him a bit akin to Back to the Future’s Doc Brown within Cisco. He’s pioneered new coverage models (Road Warrior), new product sets (Small Business Communication System) and a new way to look at the value of the channel in owning SMB customer relationships within his legacy enterprise-selling organization. Having at one time been a part of the SMB market development team at Cisco, I know personally that’s a tough job.

But, there are two things Cisco announced that could be that secret sauce, their flux capacitor (the device that made time travel in a Delorean possible) in this Partner-Led model.  The first is their plans to build a global partner-led marketing engine. Now, they’ve built some great marketing assets and gotten very grass-roots in the past with their larger VARs and Service Providers on marketing campaigns and automation (for example the Velocity conference). If they can bring that level of lead qualification and passing and field marketing assistance to the more regional partners catering to SMB, that will be a big deal.  

The second thing we think is a Cisco game-changer in SMB is their newly announced Technology Solutions Network. This is a team of inside sales engineers uniquely focused on SMB product sets and the SMB-focused partner. The ability for this team to be highly accessible (albeit on the phone) to help partners’ sales engineers with quotes, architectures and customer presentations could be huge. Many other vendors have tried this, most often in the field. Cisco will start with 300 partners who will have access to this team – that focused approach will be good. But, Cisco’s ability to help prepare partner for the all important prospecting proof-of-concept and pre-sales work will be the lynch-pin of them realizing the returns they want in this partner-led approach.

So, what’s new about SMB partnering at Cisco? The unique focus on enabling partners to do most of the pre-sales and prospecting work, in line with their larger peers. A fire-in-the-belly SMB-centric leader with a strong track record of success. An enhanced set of investments in people, automation and new economic incentives for partners to win deals with/for Cisco in SMB. And, a Wall Street community who’s watching this market-leader and their big-bet investments very closely these days.   

Doc Brown says to Marty McFly when prompted to back up the Delorean in order to accelerate to 88 mph before jumping to time travel, “Roads? We don’t need roads where we’re going!” Cisco’s got an unbelievable set of assets, partnering DNA and passion to take their SMB success to the next level. Their partners’ belief and trust that Cisco can cut through its own complexity and focus outside their enterprise investments to make this a reality is perhaps the networking giant’s real flux capacitor.

September 23, 2011 at 8:21 pm Leave a comment

ISVs Still the Strategic Channel Segment at Salesforce.com

Strong Growth and Enhanced Toolset for SaaS Developers Announced

Beth Vanni  –  Vice President, Amazon Consulting  

When Denzil Samuels, Salesforce.com’s new Channel Chief, asked how many people in the partner keynote session of last week’s Dreamforce event were developing applications using the company’s Force.com platform, about 75% of the audience’s hands shot up.   This response reflects the very development-centric make-up of the SaaS leader’s current channel ecosystem.  And, with stats like 97% growth of software OEM partners, 90% increase in ISV revenues and 210% increase in the number of ISV orders, it’s hard to argue this ongoing developer focus. (more…)

September 7, 2011 at 2:57 pm Leave a comment

Gone are the Days of the Generalist Partner – Even in the Cloud

Salesforce.com Gets Serious about Partner Certification

Beth Vanni – Vice President, Amazon Consulting

When you’re moving fast, sometimes you miss the obvious. The meteoric growth and rapid market support for Salesforce.com’s leading SaaS solutions are a great example.  The company’s rise within 10 years to a $2+ billion dollar organization has allowed them to cut some corners on how they’ve supported and engaged consulting partners.   But, at this year’s Dreamforce conference, we saw a renewed commitment and sense of urgency around helping partners (mostly of the consulting variety) develop one of the most basic value-based attributes — well defined technical and sales competency, in the form of certifications.

Once nearly exclusively focused on ISVs building to their “sales cloud” CRM platform, the SaaS giant now realizes their glaring gap — how to scale their sales and professional services capabilities to meet their growth targets to $5b, $10b and beyond.  They’ve always competed with on-premise software giants much larger and better resourced than they around partnering (think Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, SAP).  But as the darlings of the cloud applications market, Salesforce now realizes how seriously these competitors are retooling their platforms and partnering efforts to come after them….. and their built-on-the-cloud partners.  With a 36% year over year increase in the number of partners overall, Salesforce clearly still has the consulting and ISV partners’ attention.  However, in order to meet their existing sales and deployment projections, the SaaS leader estimates they need just under 3,000 professional services partners globally with well defined sales, service and/or platform capabilities in order to sustain their market leading position. (more…)

September 2, 2011 at 5:17 pm Leave a comment

Both Pitchers and Catchers Required on the Cloud Ball field

by Beth Vanni, Vice President

Telecom service providers used to be customers in the tech world. Now they’re channel partners — in fact, really strategic partners, in the wake of cloud computing.  And, like with any emerging channel type, developing and nurturing a partner development team to help these major players get up to bat and hit some home runs in the cloud services space will take some well-orchestrated staffing support and dugout coordination by vendors. (more…)

September 1, 2011 at 5:53 pm Leave a comment

What Telecom Service Providers Need to Win the Cloud Services Game

by Beth Vanni, Vice President

As vendors look to make significant, long-term inroads in cloud services through the large telecom solution providers, they can’t just sit on the sidelines as spectators in hopes of a win. Their role as coach is paramount in helping the telecom service providers quarterback in a new type of game; a game that has been played and run by a much smaller, more nifty team of players from the traditional IT channel. (more…)

August 31, 2011 at 5:23 pm Leave a comment

To Write or Not to Write – Hasn’t that Always Been the Question?

Can yesterday’s VARs ever emerge as tomorrow’s Cloud developers?

Beth Vanni – Vice President, Amazon Consulting

When your children are young, it’s hard as a parent to not sit longingly and dream about all the wonderful things your kids could be, could learn, could accomplish.  Can they apply themselves in school enough to be a doctor?  Will they do humanitarian work?  Is pro sports in their future? How can they live up to their full potential, and how can I as a parent help them do that?

The long-standing debate about whether the generalist VAR business model is a thing of the past reminds me of this brain teaser.   Should VARs “grow up” and invest in a datacenter to become an MSP?  (more…)

August 8, 2011 at 4:45 pm 1 comment

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