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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – January 8, 2016

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Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a nice and relaxing holiday break. Personally, I was lucky enough to head back to my roots to visit friends and family in St. Louis.  Let’s just say the there was no shortage of food and drinks!

But, alas, it’s always good to jump back into the structure of the work week and get back to business.

It’s been a fairly slow week, as one could expect coming off the company holiday break. But, there were definitely some highlights.

For one, the Consumer Electronics Show 2016 (CES) is under way. Follow all the action via the official hashtag #CES2016. You can also see how Cisco is a part of the conversation here.

And here’s what you might’ve missed in the news since we last spoke.

In the Channel News

Good Reads

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – December 18, 2015

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Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

New Executive Insight Series: Q & A with Wendy Bahr

We kicked off a new series this week here on the partner blog.  Our Executive Insight series will visit with Cisco execs from time to time to provide partners insight into Cisco’s key focus areas, themes, tech topics and more as they relate to our partners and the partner ecosystem.

We couldn’t have had a more appropriate first guest as Global Partner Organization lead and Cisco SVP, Wendy Bahr, sat down with me for a chat.  She fields questions on her first few months, conversations with partners, what she’s learned, partner summit 2016 updates and more.

And, be sure to check out the related channel press coverage:

Create an Attitude of Gratitude: Not Just for the Holiday Season

This month, Karin Surber wrapped up her 2015 blogging year with some words of wisdom fit for the holidays. However, her message was to keep that ‘attitude of gratitude’ alive beyond the holidays. How you say?

Well, luckily, Karin provided some tips on how to do just that and highlighted one of her favorite charities. Read her piece for some insightful end-of-the-year advice!

Good Reads

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Create an Attitude of Gratitude: Not Just for the Holiday Season

Most of us get into the holiday spirit this time of year. Time spent with friends and family, gift giving and reflecting on our many blessings creates a positive glow for the majority. But that feeling of gratitude doesn’t have to start and end with the holidays. And it can have a really profound impact on your overall attitude, relationships AND productivity.

Here are some simple tips on how you can create a consistent “Attitude of Gratitude”:

  • First, make a conscious effort to focus on those things that are going well and are positive influences in your life. Too often we get bogged down in talking and thinking about negative people, situations or issues. All this does is perpetuate those negative feelings into wider areas of your life. Instead, at least once a day, dwell on those things that you are HAPPY about. Yes, you may have some long hours at work and your boss may be irritating sometimes. Focus instead on the flexibility your employer gives you to attend your child’s school functions or the excellent people on your team. The more you think about the positive elements, the less impact the negative areas will have.
  • Second, remember to acknowledge and thank others for even the little things. It’s so easy to forget what an impact we can have one those around us just by saying “Thank you” or letting someone know how much you appreciate them. Keep your eyes open for people who “glow” while doing their job. I’ll always remember the janitor that worked at my daughter’s kindergarten school. Whenever I saw her, she was smiling, saying “hi” to all the kids and constantly moving. She took such pride in wiping off fingerprints and cleaning up their daily messes-something most of us would dread. But the joy she felt in doing her job just radiated around her. I didn’t really know this woman, but one day I stopped and told her how thankful I was that she was there taking care of the kids every day and how wonderful it was that she enjoyed her job so much. I’ll never forget the smile she had on her face after I told her that. I hope that it made her day. It certainly made me feel great telling her that.

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Executive Insight: Q and A with SVP Wendy Bahr

Cisco Partners Executive Insight QA Bahr

Today on the Partner Blog we’re kicking off a new Executive Insight series, where we’ll be visiting with Cisco executives to gain insight into key focus areas, themes, and topics that pertain to our partner ecosystem.

And what better way to start than by having Wendy Bahr, SVP, Global Partner Organization, join us for a discussion?

Wendy became head of Cisco’s Global Partner Organization in July. She’s been extremely busy in her first few months, travelling across the globe to spend time with partners, hear their stories, and see first-hand how Cisco partners are driving innovation with customers. We got a chance to catch up with Wendy this week to chat about her new role, what she’s been hearing from partners, and what she’s most excited about as she prepares to host her first Partner Summit on February 29.

Darek Rensing: Wendy, thanks so much for your time. I know you’ve been quite busy since day one in your new role. Most of that time has been dedicated to partners, as you’ve travelled all around meeting with them and listening to what’s top of mind for them. What are your personal takeaways from these experiences, and what are the top asks of Cisco coming from partners?

Wendy Bahr: Well, to answer the first part of your question: we have, without a doubt, the best partner ecosystem in the world. I spent nine years in the channel before coming into this role, and this has allowed me to gain a deep understanding of the challenges that our partners face. It has also given me the opportunity to meet face to face with hundreds of partners – most recently during my listening tour in Asia Pacific, U.S. and EMEAR. I am – as always – impressed with the versatility, the innovation, and breadth of expertise that exists within our partner ecosystem.

Many of the conversations I’ve had with our partners over the past few months have been about the challenges around the breadth of Cisco’s portfolio, our sometimes complex processes, and the transformation of our business to a more software-centric, ‘as a service’ model. It’s clear that we need greater simplicity across our entire portfolio and better alignment between our partners and our field sales organization.

DR: Cisco has had quite a few announcements in the last few months – from acquisitions to major strategic partnerships announced with Apple and Ericsson. What do these moves mean for partners, both in the near future and over the long term?

WB: Cisco and our partners know first-hand that finding the right partner (or partners) is critical to deliver business outcomes to our customers. Our partners also know that Cisco is always looking ahead and moving fast as a company in order to capture market transitions and stay out in front of the competition. This is nothing new – we’ve been doing this for years.

What is new, and what these partnerships mean, is that we’re investing in Cisco’s market leadership for the next decade and beyond. A changing market means new opportunity, and we want to continue to foster growth, profitability, and customer success across our partner ecosystem. That means being bold and innovative and taking risks, but also positioning ourselves – and ultimately our partners – to be able to act quickly and adapt when new opportunities arise.

DR: There has also been a decent amount of change within Cisco and also within the Global Partner Organization. What’s your message to partners about why these moves had been made?

WB: As you’ve heard Chuck and members of our new leadership team discuss, every country, city and business is becoming digital. Cisco continues to evolve our business in the digital era to bring even greater value to our customers. As we do this, we must ensure that our partners are making this transformation along with us, capturing market trends and delivering what our customers need most, all while driving growth and profit.

Chuck’s vision for Cisco, our partners and customers in this digital era, along with what I’ve heard from partners globally, created a perfect opportunity to look at what we are doing in GPO and ensure we are focusing on the right priorities.

Based on all of the conversations that I’ve had with partners over the past several months – as well as my previous experience working with our channel partners – I’ve created a set of guiding principles designed to help provide the best resources, programs and experience for partners. These are centered around simplicity, alignment, and evolving our value exchange.

DR: Can you tell us more about these principles? Specifically, what do they mean for partners?

WB: Simplicity is about taking complexity out of the system; simplifying how we do business so we can spend more time helping our partners address market changes and capture new opportunities.

When I talk about alignment what I mean is increasing alignment between partners and the Cisco field to help them move faster, drive greater agility, and increase growth. I’ve heard from our partners that one of their main objectives is to be in sync with our sales teams. We need to facilitate this alignment, as well as provide growth opportunities specific to our partners’ respective regions. We also need to expand our connected partner ecosystem so that partners are prepared to capture unprecedented opportunities that will arise as we capture new market transitions.

Finally, the foundation of any good partnership is a mutual exchange of value where both sides feel rewarded. As our technology landscape continues to change, we need to revisit our incentives and how we reward partners. What has worked previously is not necessarily what will work today or in the future. Our value exchange needs to keep pace with the market dynamics and needs to accommodate different partner types and roles. It also needs to reflect, as I mentioned earlier, the transformation of our business to a more software-centric, ‘as a service’ model.

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – December 11, 2015

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Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

Cisco Collaboration Summit: Spark Evolution

As soon as CEO Chuck Robbins stated that “you can’t build a digital business without a collaboration strategy,” we all knew Cisco Collaboration Summit 2015 was going to be big. And for our partners, the Cisco Spark keynote announcement was a game-changer. Cisco Spark now enables customers to message, meet, or call anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Gary Wolfson outlined the core components, opportunity and benefit for partners in his partner blog earlier this week, including the important point that Cisco Spark can only be sold by our registered partners.  I encourage you to take a quick moment and read his post to see how you can get started today.

Spark Partner Overview Presentation_Dec-2015_003

You can also catch the keynote replay here.

How to Automate and Digitize Customer Engagement

Steve Cox, from the Global Customer Success team, made his Cisco partner blog debut. He chose a wise topic to start with, considering how top-of-mind digitization and automation are to Cisco and the IT world.

He provides some tips and strategies for partners on how to automate and digitize customer engagement. Check out his post and welcome him to the partner blog by dropping him a comment.

Cisco Expands Nimble SmartStack Portfolio for Customers

On Wednesday, Jeremy Foster stopped by to elaborate on a recent portfolio expansion that will surely benefit your customers.

By expanding SmartStack, Nimble Storage now provides customers with a faster time to business value. But, enough from me on this, Jeremy is the real expert. Take his word for it and give his blog a read.

In the Channels News

Good Reads

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