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Partner Differentiation in a Cloud Services Era

As Chief Strategist of the Worldwide Partner Organization, I often speak with partners about their value-add, differentiation, and profitability. Here are some thoughts on how the traditional partner differentiation model needs to evolve in the cloud market place.

Partner profitability has always been driven by the unique value that partners add to surround the offerings from their suppliers. This can be in the form of integration with other third-party products, their own pre- and post-sales services, or even custom service level agreements. The more unique this differentiation, the higher is the partner margin on the transaction; and the more relevant their proposed solution is for the customer, the higher is their probability of winning the order. It is not surprising to see two Cisco partners – one making 12% gross margin and the other making over 25% on similar transactions due to their differing value propositions. Both business models are valid as long as the partner is managing the overhead against the subject margin they are receiving.

Over the past decade, channel partners have typically created unique value propositions around the Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) they have been reselling to end customers. This proposition may include having the lowest price, providing fast delivery, conducting pre-delivery testing or configuration, on-site installation or integration, and many others. These CPE related on-premise value propositions are still relevant in the cloud builder role, but are often not applicable to a cloud services reselling role.

It is clear that the market is moving rapidly to cloud adoption based on new consumption models. According to UBM (United Business Media), 37% of all IT spend will be off-premise in 2013 and there will also be an 11% decline in CPE sales next year. Channel partners need to create new value propositions to differentiate themselves when they resell new cloud services instead of CPE to their customers. In some ways, this requires a return to basics: Read More »

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The CDN Marketplace Solutions Catalog is Now ‘Open for Business’

Enjoy finding a needle in a haystack? Didn’t think so. That’s why Cisco has introduced the Cisco Developer Network (CDN) Marketplace.

This brand new platform is your go-to “storefront” to quickly find the value-added solutions needed to help solve your customers’ most pressing business challenges. By tapping into the marketplace’s Solutions Catalog, partners have access to more than 700 developers selling 1,100+ products and solutions—each of which dovetails to existing Cisco offerings.

The CDN Marketplace enables collaboration among customers, partners, and developers—all with a focus on accelerating the sales process and helping you increase revenue.

In addition to the Solutions Catalog, the CDN Marketplace includes Cisco AppHQ, which offers Cisco and third-party Cius apps in support of your customers’ mobility initiatives.  Read More »

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Go Fishing in a Barrel with Partner Plus: The right tools, right Intelligence, and the right level of support to Catch Great Deals

If you’ve ever gone fishing, then you know it requires a great deal of patience. So, what if you could fish in a barrel, and catch a lot of fish, rather than fish in the ocean and risk coming away empty-handed?

That would be great, right? Well, guess what, that ability to “fish in a barrel” is one of the advantages that is offered by Partner Plus, which was announced at Partner Summit last month. Partner Plus is targeted at partners who invest in selling Cisco to mid-sized customers, which IDC estimates as a $61B market opportunity. Aimed at accelerating business for these partners, Partner Plus provides incremental incentives, virtual engineering support, marketing, sales enablement, and customer intelligence to partners who commit to a highly collaborative selling approach with Cisco to accelerate their business more quickly than the market.

Partner Plus will bring together the power of Cisco sales and the partner sales force to go after the fast growing market opportunity with mid-sized customers. Watch this video to learn about the impact that Partner Plus can have in your business.

Read on to learn more about how Partner Plus can help you drive sales.  Read More »

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Cisco Master Partners Turn to the ‘Clouds’ to Expand their Business

You’ve seen a number of posts on the Channels blog recently about cloud and the growing opportunity. But don’t just take our word for it. Several of our Cisco Master Partners took time to tell their stories. Specifically, how embracing the world of many clouds is helping them expand their value to customers—and increase their bottom line.

Those generously sharing their insights today include:

But before you dive in and read their stories, the Channels blog wants to say, “Thank You!” We truly appreciate and value our partners’ insights. And for the rest of you, don’t forget to visit the new cloud content on Cisco.com and learn more about Cisco Collaborative Professional Services.

Meanwhile, let the cloud journey continue! Read More »

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Cisco and Our Partners: Building a More Valuable Relationship

At Cisco, we know that our relationship with our partners is vital—80 percent of our revenue flows through our partners, and without your commitment to us, we would not enjoy the successes that we have. But we also know that we have to earn your business and your loyalty every day. You tell us that you value our relationship and many of the things Cisco brings to the table, like technology innovation, practice enablement, profitability programs and our unique partner-centric sales and services go-to-market model.  I consider this our Cisco Partnering Value Proposition and we are committed to these core tenants.

As I shared at Partner Summit in San Diego, being “In it to Win it” means taking our  relationship to a new level, and that means helping you  maximize your business value and optimize your Return on Cisco. So how do we do that?

Watch this video clip of my General Session presentation at Partner Summit to learn more about what I mean when I talk about your Return on Cisco.

As we see it, a partner’s Return on Cisco is comprised  of the Cisco Partnering Value Proposition I mentioned, and a new concept we’re calling an Investor’s View of Partner Valuation.  Read More »

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