Posts tagged ‘Cisco’

Whose Job is it Anyway? Partnering Automation Imperatives for a Cloud World

Cary Tengler– Director, Client Services

It would be odd to sign up for wireless phone service and not get a detailed monthly bill, right?

And these days you get on-line bill-pay, web chat and customer service options as well. You’re also able to view your voice, data, and text rates, usage and activity in excruciating detail. All of that information, however, comes not from Apple, Google or Nokia, but from your service provider – the wireless carrier. AT&T or Verizon or Sprint is your service provider, so that’s where you expect the “service.”

But in the world of Cloud and SaaS computing solutions, where do channel partners go for support? IT VARs have historically worked with their vendors and distributors, while agents have worked with carriers, CLECs, and other voice and data providers. The increasing adoption of Cloud-based services is causing IT vendors and service providers alike to rethink the role and investment requirements of partner automation, communication, and collaboration tools. (more…)

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October 17, 2011 at 7:30 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

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

Brand-Franchise Channel Partnerships: Who Do End-to-End Solutions REALLY Benefit?

by Diane Krakora, CEO

At this year’s HP America’s Partner Conference 2011, new CEO Leo Apotheker introduced a newly crystallized set of messaging focused around the ability of HPs broad portfolio to create a “seamless, secure, content-aware experience for an InstantON, connected world.” While certainly admirable, with the proliferation of exceptional products and suppliers from which customers can choose, it begs the question: Who really benefits from the sale of a single company’s end-to-end solution? (more…)

April 14, 2011 at 8:13 pm Leave a comment

Desktop Virtualization: The Next Battleground in “Journey to the Cloud”

by Beth Vanni, Vice President

Last week VMware Partner Exchange Conference put the company’s cloud strategy back on center stage.  Not surprisingly, desktop virtualization was one of the hot topics of discussion.  After all, with analysts projecting a 75% CAGR over the next five years, the key players in the industry, Microsoft, Citrix and VMware are all battling for a major share of this fast-growing segment..

VMWare executives painted a huge opportunity for partners in the desktop virtualization segment, citing an impressive 12,000 new customers and a 97% increase in partner bookings in 2010 alone.  And, it’s more clear than ever to VMware execs that the continued growth they’re craving can only be achieved with and through their channel partners.   (more…)

February 28, 2011 at 7:46 pm Leave a comment

Partners’ Use of Social Media

By Diane Krakora – CEO

My day 2 at the Cisco Velocity event in Barcelona started with a press and analyst briefing with about 10 Cisco partners and a discussion around their use of social media. They tried valiantly to communicate three main points. First, the partners are using Facebook primarily to recruit new employees into their organization. They’re not using it as a customer lead generation tool as of yet. Second, they’re using Twitter to keep up to date with their VENDORS’ quarter channel promotions. And third, they’re engaging in blogging and commenting on blogs because they say “conversations are happening about our industry and technologies, why would we not want to participate?”

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zF_4UXNFrFI

December 9, 2010 at 5:31 pm Leave a comment

Cisco Velocity – Day 2

By Diane Krakora – CEO

Thinque Funky

Cisco Velocity is a very unique event in the industry – 2 days dedicated to helping solution providers enhance the success of their marketing. This is unique because as a Cisco sponsored event, they don’t talk about product (or services). Other partner events often offer one or two sessions on leadership or some other aspect of business management for the solution providers. This event is completely focused on the partners’ success with marketing their own business. The open key note at the Cisco Velocity event in Barcelona Spain was a thought-provoking talk by Anders Sorman-Nilsson about how to Thinque Funky – different ways to look at their business and marketing. One of my takeaways was to drive thought leadership that is visionary, provocative and meets customer needs through the vigorous use of social media.

December 8, 2010 at 10:29 pm Leave a comment

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