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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

Cisco Partners Weekly Rewind Banner-650

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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Partner Success Strategies: How to Automate and Digitize Customer Engagement

A digital transformation is already upon us.  Customer buying behavior is dramatically different than it was 10 years ago.  If you haven’t adapted already, growing your business may require big shifts in the way you do business.

It’s no surprise that your customers prefer to do business online.  They are buying more online services, subscriptions, and cloud-based solutions than ever before. This digitization in buying behavior means fewer phone calls and less face time, which can make it difficult to differentiate from your competitors and provide the extraordinary customer experience that consumers have come to expect. While on the surface, these trends may seem like an obstacle to growth, forward-thinking organizations are taking advantage of the digital shift, modernizing their customer engagement model, improving customer retention and growing revenues.

The Cisco Global Customer Success (GCS) organization has been hard at work developing a model for customer engagement that puts our partners front and center in the digital sales process, making it easier for you to sell—and easier for your customers to buy in a digital world. Unifying people, process, analytics, and automation, this proven methodology not only simplifies sales, but also helps to create customers for life. If that sounds too good to be true, or too complex for your business, then you’ll want to attend our January 19 webinar, “How to Automate and Digitize Customer Engagement.”

You’ll learn how data-driven, automated selling motions can help you connect more effectively with your customers throughout their journey with you—from the moment a product or service is purchased; to the point that it is adopted; and across the important upsell, cross-sell, renew, and refresh phases. Through an intelligent approach to digital engagement, you’ll be in position to reach out to the right customers at the right time with the right offers throughout each of these stages. You’ll also discover untapped opportunities, along with new ways to scale your sales practice, reduce costs, and gain greater profitability.

Most importantly, with the right digital strategies and tools, you can help your clients achieve stronger business outcomes, which means they’ll increase their trust in you.

Ready to hear more? Sign up for our January 19 Customer Success Talks webinar.

Webinar Details

Webinar Title:           How to Automate and Digitize Customer Engagement

Date and Time:         January 19, 11:00am PT

Register:                    Register Today

Key Takeaways

  • Learn how to use digital engagement to nurture sales throughout all phases of the customer journey;
  • Harness the power of data to identify new sales and renewal opportunities and proactively address them with your clients;
  • Improve product and services adoption to help customers get the most value out of their Cisco investments;
  • Scale your business, reduce costs, and increase profits through the use of strategic new tools

 

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Expanded Cisco and Nimble SmartStack Portfolio Helps Provide Customers with Faster Time to Business Value

Business is changing faster than ever, placing new and dynamic demands on server, storage and networking infrastructure. Traditionally, infrastructure was pulled together by engineering to solve a specific problem and then thrown over the wall to operations for ‘care and feeding’. Configuring and testing hardware configurations is often not core to our customers business and absorbs precious IT resources that could be directed towards revenue-producing projects.

Once the infrastructure is deployed, it sits there. It is often too complex to change or reconfigure, even scaling the infrastructure can present risk and unexpected downtime.  All too often IT is trying to orchestrate itself to align to the business versus the business being enabled to orchestrate IT. You can deploy IT Infrastructure in a better way, which allows the business to reduce the time-to-value while improving agility to achieve more with each dollar spent on IT.

These business challenges are also placing even greater demands to plan, procure, deploy, test and roll out new workloads in a faster, more efficient, manner than the traditional approach of purchasing compute, network and storage and then combining these pieces together. Third-party data also confirms this premise. For example, a leading market research organization says: “IT organizations spend 23.3% of staff time and resources on pre-system deployment”*.  Once deployed, infrastructure must also be dynamic and granular responding to future needs like cloud and IoT.  These trends combined with declining data center budgets are forcing closer cooperation among vendors to put together entire systems.

In order to address these challenges, last week Nimble Storage announced expanding the SmartStack portfolio which combines Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure with the Nimble Adaptive Flash platform and various software workloads.

SmartStack

From a customer standpoint, there are many benefits to this expanded SmartStack portfolio which can be grouped into three main areas:

  1. Faster time to business value using SmartStack initial deployment through Cisco Validated Designs and Nimble reference architectures
  • Cisco Validated Designs are precise blueprints that significantly speed infrastructure deployment and assurance that Cisco Validated Designs and Nimble reference architectures are rigorously tested and validated by both Cisco and Nimble
  • Faster time to solution deployment and fewer errors as pre-testing, configuring, sizing are expedited using these extensive engineering documents as exact guides
  • Quicker, more agile infrastructure redeployment through industry-leading, UCS management (UCS Director, UCS Central and UCS Manager)
  1. More SmartStack workloads with a growing set of Cisco Validated Designs and an increasing library of Nimble reference architectures addressing nearly all major use cases
  • Finally, SmartStack provides customers with a platform to bring our unique capabilities together. Cisco and Nimble both bring more to the table than network, compute and storage technologies.
  • For instance, Cisco will provide innovative technologies such as UCS Director and UCS Manager. The Nimble Adaptive Flash platform is built upon CASL™ architecture, which scales performance and capacity seamlessly and independently.
  • The goal of the SmartStack solution is to deliver these and future technologies to customers as more Cisco and Nimble technologies are collectively added to the joint solution through Cisco Validated Designs and Nimble reference architectures.
  1. Highly secure future foundation for innovation between Cisco and Nimble
  • The growth of cloud, mobility, and Internet of Things is accelerating change in the data center and placing more demands and challenges on the underlying infrastructure.
  • The challenge is to have IT infrastructure that can keep pace with this change. SmartStack brings the “industrial revolution” to the traditional “piece work” of infrastructure deployment. SmartStack delivers on this challenge both today and tomorrow, leaving yesterday’s IT legacy behind.

* Villars, Richard L. and Jed Scaramella, IDC, Converging the Datacenter Infrastructure: Why, How, So What? May 2012

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