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Partners and Cisco UCS + ACI = Amazing Together

Today at Cisco we announced the fifth anniversary of the Unified Computing System (UCS), along with innovations in our Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) portfolio.

It’s pretty exciting considering that when we entered the server market five years ago, there were questions about what we were doing. Was it the right play? Could Cisco be successful in this new market? Well history has borne out that it was indeed a good idea. With the help of our channel partners we have gone from “zero to hero.”  Our partnerships with our channel and technology partners took us from not being a player in this space to becoming a multi-billion dollar business with over 30,000 UCS customers worldwide.

More than 80 percent of all Cisco UCS sales go through our channel partners, and we are now ranked second worldwide in x86 blade server revenue market share. These accomplishments are nothing to sneeze at, and we know just how important it has been to work with our partners to make such a rapid move in this market. Cisco’s data center partner community continues to thrive and grow, with partners investing in their data center practices using Cisco UCS as a foundation.  We have more than 3,850 channel partners that sell Cisco UCS today, with more than half of them possessing UCS Specialization credentials.  In fact, a year ago, in Q2FY13, there were about 1,600 Cisco Specialized partners on UCS. In Q2FY14 a year later, Cisco had approximately 2,000 UCS Specialized partners – a 25% increase over the previous year. Read More »

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The Power Behind the Cloud

At Cisco Live! Milan, I talked with people from all types of organizations from around the world and hearing their excitement at how they envision the cloud is going to change the way they do business.  Their stories are incredible and inspiring.  They range from a small startup hoping to expand their business without having to create their own IT department all the way to global companies looking for ways to deliver new services faster in a more secure and cost-effective manner.

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No matter the size of their organization, they are all looking for similar things.  Assured performance is top-of-list for most.  Faster to time market is another important factor.  Many are turning to the cloud for a competitive edge that lets them take advantage of continuous innovation without having to reinvest in a completely new data center.  And most are looking forward to the cost savings of not having to manage their own IT infrastructure.  However, what’s often not talked about is that behind every cloud service is a network that is responsible for the performance of your data and applications.  And the truth is, not all cloud services are created equal.

Read More »

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The We’re Listening Blog Series: 3 Way RMA Process Speeds Up Service Contract Updates

Over the past few months, the We’re Listening blog has brought you ongoing news about updates to our RMA processes, and the improvements keep on coming. I’ve asked Jim Fuller, Senior Director of Services Entitlement, to return to the blog to share details on the new 3-Way RMA process.  The new process represents a significant improvement for many of our customers and partners, and in the spirit of the We’re Listening blog, was undertaken by Jim’s team in direct response to customer and partner feedback. Share your thoughts on other ways we can simplify your interactions with Cisco, and your suggestions may end up as new capabilities featured on the blog!

jafuller By Guest Contributor Jim Fuller

Our partners provide constant feedback to tell us how we can improve their experience doing business with Cisco. One of our partners’ number one requests is to help them create an RMA via a single step, versus opening a support case with Cisco to remedy contract updates as a result of RMA transactions.

We heard your feedback, and if you’re a partner who “self-spares” (spares inventory from your depot) or a customer who contracts with a partner who self-spares, your Return Material Authorization (RMA) process just became easier. We’ve introduced Partners 3-Way RMA/Self-Sparing.

With this new process, service contracts are automatically updated with the associated serial number swaps when processing 3-Way RMAs.  Available now, the new capabilities provide the following benefits:

1. Delivery of an automated RMA process that supports 3-Way RMA transactions at the time of RMA creation

2. Two serial numbers can now be entered at the time of RMA creation for those partners that self-spare, via the Service Order RMA Tool (SORT):

  • The serial number of the claimed defective part from customer network
  • The serial number of the spare part used by the partner to replace the claimed defective part on the customer’s network

3. Ability to minimize or even eliminate partner overhead to monitor and coordinate contract swaps

Previously, the Partner Self-Sparing model was not systematically supported making equipment difficult to track. Without a standardized process, contract and installed base updates had to be performed manually via a support case process. Now, systematic contract updates will occur at the time of RMA shipment reflecting the spare part (replacing the claimed defective part) on contract, making it easier to do business with Cisco and drastically reducing support cases.

To date, more than 175 partners globally have been enabled, with an RMA success rate of 95%. In FY14, we’re focused on reducing contract cycles and the number of customer escalations even further.

Please contact your Cisco Partner Support Development Manager (PSDM) for further information about enabling these new capabilities in support of your 3-Way RMA/Self-Sparing needs.

Regards,
Jim Fuller

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New SMB Specialization Helps Partners Succeed in SMB Space

Today, Cisco introduces a newly-defined Small and Midsize Business (SMB) Specialization, an improved and combined version of the existing Small Business and Small Business Foundation Specializations. This evolution captures several market and technology trends critical to your customer’s needs, and positions existing and future Cisco SMB Specialized partners to succeed in the midmarket space.

The SMB Specialization curriculum has been revised to mirror the architectural go-to-market strategy employed by Cisco’s Advanced-level specializations. This new curriculum positions our SMB partners to sell across all technologies. The major focus for the enablement tracks are Borderless Networks, Collaboration, and Data Center, as well as updated Services training. And for the first time, Cisco introduces enablement focused on Cloud , SMB-level Cisco TelePresence® products and formal virtualization and data center switching.

What else is changing with the new SMB Specialization?  Read More »

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Relationships, Relationships, Relationships: Cisco at Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference

July 9, 2013 at 6:09 pm PST

When I think of why technology solution providers should attend Microsoft’s WPC, I decided to pay homage to one of Steve Ballmer’s mantras with my blog title.

Last year, at Microsoft’s WPC in Toronto, I was approached by KEMP Technologies (a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner). They gave me an elevator pitch on their products and explained they were interested in partnering with Cisco. Their load balancing solutions sounded interesting and anything that might sell more UCS servers sounded like a win win to me. After all, Cisco didn’t become the #2 blade server vendor worldwide1 by itself. I told them I would try and find the right contact for them.

A few emails on my part and a lot of hard work by the Cisco and KEMP teams, a year later KEMP is now IVT Certified for UCS. While not an exclusive relationship, we can now offer our customers another excellent choice.

Stop by the Cisco booth (#1401) and talk with the datacenter team or KEMP’s booth (#1725). You never know what might come of it.

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1. Source:  IDC Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, Q1 2013 Revenue Share, May 2013

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