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Plenty of Room in the Cloud for Cisco Solution Providers

This post is the fourth in a series we’re featuring from Amazon Consulting. Amazon Consulting is a partnering services firm dedicated to helping companies elevate the impact of partnering. The author of this post is Cary Tengler, Director, Client Services.

As Bob Dylan once famously sang, “The times, they are a’changin’.” Recent changes in technology—specifically with cloud computing—have moved technology service providers into an increasingly prominent role in the IT services delivery market.

Many vendors recognized early on the broader value of technology service providers, or TSPs, and created programs to support their role in the partner ecosystem. For instance, “Cisco Powered Network” branding and joint selling efforts have long been a part of Cisco’s service provider strategy.  And it appears the rest of the IT vendor community is coming to the same conclusion.

A recent Amazon Consulting survey of 64 global IT vendors found that 70% view service providers as “very strategic” in their go-to-market plans and only 12% of the vendors viewed them as “customers and not partners.” This increased industry focus on TSPs as part of the emerging “cloud channel” makes it imperative that Cisco’s VARs take a closer look at their own cloud services and partnering strategies. Read More »

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Cisco Partner Westcon Group’s LEAP Centers Focus on Technology’s Business Value

Sometimes it helps to see real-world routing and switching technology, data center security, and virtualized Unified Communications in action. Did you know that there’s a place you can do just that—either in person, or virtually?

It’s been just about a year since Cisco distributor partner the Westcon Group unveiled its LEAP Centers (LEAP stands for Learn, Experience, Architect and Plan). LEAP Centers provide partners with hands-on training  in a lab environment, where a reseller and end-user can come together for hands-on demonstrations.

Cisco partners can take advantage of training to evaluate core switching and routing processes, application delivery, data center security, virtualized Unified Communications and other data-centric and Cisco UCS solutions. Westcon has two LEAP Centers, one in Denver, Colorado, and the other in Brussels, Belgium. If you can’t visit in person, Westcon enables users to access LEAP Center resources virtually, as well.

I got the chance to chat with Bill Hurley, CTO of the Westcon Group, and he filled me in on what’s been going on over the past year, why Cisco partners should take advantage of what the LEAP centers have to offer, and how the LEAP centers have exceeded Westcon’s expectations.

It’s been almost a year since you launched the LEAP centers: What’s been going on with them during that time frame?

Bill Hurley: We have been phenomenally successful in raising awareness about the impact and benefits of virtualization and data center consolidation—those have been our two biggest areas of inquiry and activity. We’ve focused on showing how UCS helps enable business benefits. And we’ve also run specific programs around a service-oriented architecture (SOA)-enabled data center, as well as a UCS bootcamp.

LEAP centers have appealed to both partners and end-users: They’re not just about speeds and feeds, but instead help in putting all the technology in a business context. There’s a real benefit for partners in physically being at a LEAP center—it helps them understand how the technologies really work together. Read More »

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Partner Update Shares Top Cisco News and Magic Recipes

Fairy dust and magic genies? Is it Halloween already?

Actually, Halloween is over a month away but that didn’t stop Alex from sharing her magic recipe for driving more traffic to your site in this episode of Partner Update.

But that’s not all that happened during Partner Update. We also got a glimpse of Andrew’s presentation skills and why he’ll be joining the upcoming Virtual Partner Velocity, share Keith Goodwin’s thoughts on the importance of healthy competition, find out why Andrew wishes he had a magic genie, learn how to get in touch with live experts, and hear about how Cisco Talent Fairs are helping partners fill talent gaps.

Tune in now to watch the full episode.

Keep reading for a list of links and a written transcript of our newscast. Read More »

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Accelerate Sales and Get Support in Your Local Language By Calling Cisco Partner Advisor

We know that Cisco partners are often on the go, catching up on work at the airport or getting a few things done at a café. But what happens when you’re looking for specific non-technical information about Cisco programs or promotions, and you need help getting your question answered?

Find out how Cisco Partner Advisor helped these partners get the answers they needed, and how to leverage this resource yourself.

How can Partner Advisor help you? Read on for specifics on what you need to know about Partner Advisor.
Read More »

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Cisco Talent Fair: Helping Partners Fill Talent Gaps and Tips for Hiring the Best

IDC predicts a nearly 40% gap between demand and supply of technical networking skills by year 2012.

To help Cisco partners fill growing gaps in their own talent, Cisco partnered with CareerBuilder to set up three Cisco Talent Fairs across the Southern region of the United States.

“Business has grown by 50% over the past year and a half so we are really needing some additional help and resources to add to our staff,” said Lauren Decker, Senior Marketing Specialist at INX (a Cisco Gold and Master Partner).

This trend is true across the board for partners who are, “experiencing unprecedented growth and success in their business right now,” said Eric Thomas, Cisco Manager of Partner Operations. But Eric notes that the growing pains around finding talent is consistent with every partner he talks to.

The first Cisco Talent Fair was held in March in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park. As a result of the event, partners who attended have already taken on 12 new hires with roles ranging from Account Managers and Systems Engineers to Project Managers.

More recently, two Cisco Talent Fairs were held in Texas (Houston and Dallas) to help partners find talent to fill Sales, Engineering, Project Management, Inside Sales, and Marketing roles in their companies. Approximately four hundred prospective employees attended the events, and as a result, participating partners now have a large pipeline of candidates.

So, what can partners expect from a Cisco Talent Fair? Check out the video highlights from the Cisco Talent Fair held in Dallas, Texas.

Are you looking to fill the talent gaps in your company? Cisco Channel Systems Engineer Hernan Hernandez shares his top tips on how partners can attract prospective employees. Read More »

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