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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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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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The Evolution of Cisco Spark: Complete Collaboration from the Cisco Cloud

Over the past few years we’ve shared our vision to deliver a single collaboration experience that spans all modes of communication. We’ve talked about how we’ll achieve that vision by providing business collaboration solutions that are experience-centric, cloud connected, and that extend the value of our customers’ existing investments.

We took a foundational step toward achieving that vision when we launched Cisco Spark as a team collaboration app in March of 2015. It was built on a new, modern cloud platform and we promised that it was just the beginning of a journey. We’ve continued to leverage that modern cloud platform to rethink collaboration. Today we’re taking a big leap forward on the Cisco Collaboration journey with you.

Moments ago, on mainstage at Collaboration Summit 2015, we announced the evolution of Cisco Spark. It is now a complete business collaboration service from the Cisco cloud that enables customers to message, meet, or call anyone, anywhere and anytime. Cisco Spark is hosted by Cisco and sold by partners.

Visit the Cisco Spark Partner Launch Page 

The evolved Cisco Spark is designed for customers of any size, and delivers a mobile-first, single collaboration experience that spans all modes of communication.

Core Components of Cisco Spark

Today’s historic announcement reflects the evolution of Cisco Spark from a mobile app to a platform to an entire ecosystem, with the inclusion of Spark APIs, SDKs and a new Developer site. The emergence of a full collaboration service platform wouldn’t be complete if others couldn’t build on it! In addition to the existing messaging service, we‘ve added full calling and meeting capabilities to the cloud.  And to extend the value of our customers’ existing investments, we’ve announced a set of services that connect Cisco Powered Hosted Collaboration Solutions (HCS) and our on-premises call control solutions with Cisco Spark capabilities in the cloud.

It’s a major leap forward; our Collaboration Cloud has become the center of every experience we are delivering. It is the fabric that connects everything we have – phones, rooms, video, Spark, WebEx, and APIs.

Spark Partner Overview Presentation_Dec-2015_003

Partner Benefits

So it’s clear the way people work is fundamentally changing and today’s announcement puts partners at the center of this transformation.

I see three distinct categories for partners to take full advantage of this new Cisco Spark cloud based collaboration service:

Growth: The new cloud service opens up paths to reach new small and mid-market customers in ways not possible before.  With help from Cisco, you can sell Spark in a simple, volume-sales model. You can position a solution to a specific business department and leverage that relationship to move across the organization and expand your opportunity by delivering additional solutions.

With the new hybrid services capabilities, you can also grow by selling Cisco Spark to your existing Cisco customers. You can extend the value of their on-premise or managed solutions, including Unified Communications Manager (UCM), the Business Edition series or Hosted Collaboration Solutions (HCS).

By seamlessly connecting on-premises call control with the cloud based message and meeting capabilities of Spark, you can maximize the unique attributes and capabilities of each. You can create new opportunities with these existing customers, enabling them to work smarter and innovate faster, and helping them manage their transition to the cloud. This transformation will enable customers to change the way they work, and take a big leap forward on their own digital journey.

Profit: You can profit from selling the service and related endpoints, and by adding your own margin rich services. And you’ll continue to profit from new annuity-based recurring revenue streams.

Differentiate: This starts by offering a cloud collaboration service that is simple, secure and complete, compared to the many disparate cloud offers in the market that customers piece together today. But the biggest opportunity to differentiate is by offering customization. The Cisco Spark Developer Platform provides a way for you to differentiate by customizing the integration of Spark with various native customer applications for different industries, or by working with developer partners who can do this to help you deliver for your customer

The innovative cloud platform, app centric design, hybrid services and architecture of the Cisco Spark Service create, we believe, a very powerful and differentiated offering in this space.

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Top Cisco Collaboration Partners for 2015 Recognized with Awards

How exciting and inspiring it was to welcome partners from around the world to Collaboration Summit 2015 last night! We had a great time, and I could tell as we said goodnight, that we were all brimming with anticipation for the next few days. I can confirm for all of you, we will be sharing some historic news that will greatly accelerate our collaboration business.

For those who are not with us in person, I strongly recommend tuning into the live stream of the keynotes from Rowan and Jonathan today at 9:00 a.m. PT – or catching the replay on demand. I could not be more excited to share the news with you this week, and for the success we’ll certainly create together in 2016 and beyond.

Last night, we were thrilled to recognize a select number of our partners with well-deserved awards for their outstanding performance in fiscal 2015. On behalf of the entire Cisco team, it is my sincere pleasure to recognize them again here. And extend my warm thanks to all of our valued partners for the success we shared this past year.

2015 Cisco Collaboration Partner Award Winners:

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