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Talent Is a Recession-Proof Investment

Retaining top-performing employees is a constant challenge that many companies face. And during these rocky economic times, managing that challenge can be difficult.

For those businesses looking at ways to find and keep great talent, here are three tips, courtesy of Leigh Clifford Drake, Director of Cisco’s Worldwide Partner Talent Organization.

So what does Leigh suggest? Here’s her advice, as well as some key findings from a recent survey conducted by the Cisco Partner Talent team. Read More »

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Harnessing the Power of Marketing at Partner Velocity

December 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm PST

With new ways to amp up your marketing, innovative ways to use social media, ways to market the cloud, and outside-the-box thinking, the fourth annual Partner Velocity event kicked off yesterday in Barcelona, Spain.

So far, attendees have heard from speakers about a variety of topics, including: How to “thinque funky,” differentiation, using mobile for marketing, cloud, and personal tips on growing professionally and balancing home/work life. We’ll have interviews with speakers and session recaps over the next few days. I got the chance to visit with a few partners to find out what they’re eager to learn about at this year’s event.

With only one full day of the event under our belt, we’ve already learned a ton. Read on to find out what we’ve heard about so far.

Read More »

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Live from Partner Velocity: Recap of our Channels Chat with Scott Klososky

December 7, 2010 at 3:55 pm PST

After jumping on two planes, and lugging along all of my video equipment, I’ve made it to Barcelona, Spain, for Partner Velocity, which is taking place this week. This annual event brings together thought leaders from across the marketing world to talk and engage with our partners, helping them learn the latest marketing tips and tricks.

Today I had the chance to host a Ustream broadcast with Scott Klososky, the former CEO of three startups. Scott filled us in on cloud computing, one of the most disruptive technologies since the advent of the Internet. Scott will be hosting a session here at Partner Velocity titled “What Is the Cloud and Why Should I Care?” With that as the jumping point for our discussion, we had a far-ranging talk on why cloud is critical right now.

Here’s a replay of the broadcast:

Want to read more about what we talked about? Read on for a recap. We also have information about our next Ustream broadcast, which is on hosting a Ustream broadcast, scheduled for tomorrow, at 11:45 a.m. CET.

Read More »

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Has Your Company Outgrown Your “IT Guy”

By Ken Presti, Contributing Columnist

It starts with a nagging suspicion that things aren’t in synch, and kind of grows from there.  Symptoms include long response times, an inability to scale, and sometimes just an all-out failure to keep things working.  At one time or another, every company faces the question of whether they have outgrown their IT guy.

The causes can be many, but typically fall into one of two buckets.  The most obvious one is the inability of said IT guy to keep up with the changes of the industry and grow with the job.  In these situations, the answer may be as simple as getting some additional training, as opposed to looking for someone new.  But very often, it’s far more complicated than that.  In some ways, Moore’s Law has now been applied to human resources.  Managers are expected to get more from the people they’ve got, and next quarter they are expected to get more still.  And if you think that’s bad, just wait til the quarter after that.  So very often, it is not a lack of ability or a lack of willingness on the part of the employee, it is simply a matter of trying to get too much done with too few bodies.

When faced with such difficulties with your IT support, there are a couple of different ways you can go.  The least advisable option is to keep bumping along with the situation you’ve got, due to the budget requirements at hand. Unfortunately, a lot of companies go this route, and they do so at substantial risk. The best choice, of course, is heavily dependent upon how much wiggle room there might be for that line item.  For example, you may be able to bring someone onto the team, either as a full-time employee, a part-time employee, or a contractor of some type.  In many cases, you may find channel partners in your area who are ready, willing, and able to either meet your IT needs, or at least add additional resources to the equation without increasing your headcount.

But the important part is that management recognizes the critical role that IT plays in the organization, and is willing to provide the extra support, and least as a defensive maneuver to help protect the company’s ability to deliver on business-level objectives.  In this situation, it may be necessary to make some pretty difficult choices.  But assuming that IT is mission-critical to the company, making such a choice is critical to the bottom line.

The good thing about working with a channel partner is that you can usually find some level of supplementary service that suit’s your company’s budget, whatever that might be. And sometimes the effects of just a little bit of help can far exceed the incremental cost.

Thus, with a little bit of planning, and a little bit of flexibility, you can bring a higher degree of IT efficiency, and oftentimes accomplish that goal while leaving your primary team intact.

Ken Presti has extensive experience in channel program analysis and development.  He is the founder of Presti Research.  His company  focuses on channel and go-to-market programs and strategies in order to help our clients build successful and profitable partnerships with compatible companies.

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Staying Focused On Our Partners’ Success

As we enter Q2 FY11, I’d like to take a moment to speak to you, our partners, about our plans for the year ahead.

On November 10, Cisco released Q1 earnings and as CEO John Chambers said, “Cisco delivered solid financial results, during a challenging economic environment. While we have seen capital spending moderate in some areas of our business, our execution in the areas we can control and influence speak to the success and relevance of the company’s strategy.”

Adding to those comments, I would like to reiterate that our overall vision for the Worldwide Partner Organization has not changed—we are still focused on building the world’s best partnerships.

In support of this objective, we recently launched Partner Horizon, our three-to-five year initiative for taking us to the next level.

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