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Cisco Partner Westcon Group’s LEAP Centers Focus on Technology’s Business Value

Sometimes it helps to see real-world routing and switching technology, data center security, and virtualized Unified Communications in action. Did you know that there’s a place you can do just that—either in person, or virtually?

It’s been just about a year since Cisco distributor partner the Westcon Group unveiled its LEAP Centers (LEAP stands for Learn, Experience, Architect and Plan). LEAP Centers provide partners with hands-on training  in a lab environment, where a reseller and end-user can come together for hands-on demonstrations.

Cisco partners can take advantage of training to evaluate core switching and routing processes, application delivery, data center security, virtualized Unified Communications and other data-centric and Cisco UCS solutions. Westcon has two LEAP Centers, one in Denver, Colorado, and the other in Brussels, Belgium. If you can’t visit in person, Westcon enables users to access LEAP Center resources virtually, as well.

I got the chance to chat with Bill Hurley, CTO of the Westcon Group, and he filled me in on what’s been going on over the past year, why Cisco partners should take advantage of what the LEAP centers have to offer, and how the LEAP centers have exceeded Westcon’s expectations.

It’s been almost a year since you launched the LEAP centers: What’s been going on with them during that time frame?

Bill Hurley: We have been phenomenally successful in raising awareness about the impact and benefits of virtualization and data center consolidation—those have been our two biggest areas of inquiry and activity. We’ve focused on showing how UCS helps enable business benefits. And we’ve also run specific programs around a service-oriented architecture (SOA)-enabled data center, as well as a UCS bootcamp.

LEAP centers have appealed to both partners and end-users: They’re not just about speeds and feeds, but instead help in putting all the technology in a business context. There’s a real benefit for partners in physically being at a LEAP center—it helps them understand how the technologies really work together. Read More »

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Accelerate Sales and Get Support in Your Local Language By Calling Cisco Partner Advisor

We know that Cisco partners are often on the go, catching up on work at the airport or getting a few things done at a café. But what happens when you’re looking for specific non-technical information about Cisco programs or promotions, and you need help getting your question answered?

Find out how Cisco Partner Advisor helped these partners get the answers they needed, and how to leverage this resource yourself.

How can Partner Advisor help you? Read on for specifics on what you need to know about Partner Advisor.
Read More »

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Cisco Talent Fair: Helping Partners Fill Talent Gaps and Tips for Hiring the Best

September 23, 2011 at 8:56 am PST

IDC predicts a nearly 40% gap between demand and supply of technical networking skills by year 2012.

To help Cisco partners fill growing gaps in their own talent, Cisco partnered with CareerBuilder to set up three Cisco Talent Fairs across the Southern region of the United States.

“Business has grown by 50% over the past year and a half so we are really needing some additional help and resources to add to our staff,” said Lauren Decker, Senior Marketing Specialist at INX (a Cisco Gold and Master Partner).

This trend is true across the board for partners who are, “experiencing unprecedented growth and success in their business right now,” said Eric Thomas, Cisco Manager of Partner Operations. But Eric notes that the growing pains around finding talent is consistent with every partner he talks to.

The first Cisco Talent Fair was held in March in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park. As a result of the event, partners who attended have already taken on 12 new hires with roles ranging from Account Managers and Systems Engineers to Project Managers.

More recently, two Cisco Talent Fairs were held in Texas (Houston and Dallas) to help partners find talent to fill Sales, Engineering, Project Management, Inside Sales, and Marketing roles in their companies. Approximately four hundred prospective employees attended the events, and as a result, participating partners now have a large pipeline of candidates.

So, what can partners expect from a Cisco Talent Fair? Check out the video highlights from the Cisco Talent Fair held in Dallas, Texas.

Are you looking to fill the talent gaps in your company? Cisco Channel Systems Engineer Hernan Hernandez shares his top tips on how partners can attract prospective employees. Read More »

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Learn How to Present Visual Stories that Captivate Any Audience

September 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm PST

Have you ever given what you thought was a compelling speech only to hear crickets instead of wild applause from your audience?

Have you ever given a sales pitch that fell flat?

Are you truly connecting with your audience and taking them on a journey or just talking at them?

Presentations are the currency of business communications. Those who master communicating with audiences--whether social media, sales pitches, lead generation, or traditional marketing--rise faster than their peers, reach more customers than their competitors, and turn causes into a groundswell.

Through Cisco’s Partner Velocity program, partners can learn marketing, social media best practices, and tips for engaging with customers from the industry’s leading experts. In our next Virtual Partner Velocity marketing session, we’ll be holding a live online broadcast featuring best-selling author and persuasion expert Nancy Duarte, CEO of Duarte Design.

During the hour-long session on October 11 at 8 a.m. PST, Nancy will demonstrate how to apply the methods in her book Resonate: Presenting Visual Stories That Transform Audiences and build meaningful connections with audiences that compel them to action. She’ll also take your questions live on the air.

What will you learn and how can you participate?

Read More »

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Healthy Competition Makes Us Stronger

In business, competition makes us stronger. Through competition, we strive to create the best products for our customers, the best programs for our partners, and the best Cisco for the networking industry as a whole.

We embrace healthy competition with competitors such as Avaya, HP, Huawei, and Juniper Networks. Each of our competitors brings its strengths, innovations, and programs to address a variety of customer and partner needs.

Cisco’s customers and the networking industry have benefited from this competitive environment through innovations which make the network faster, greener, and more powerful:

  • This week’s news about the Cisco’s expanded ASR 9000 system to deliver a single, simplified system for high-speed business, residential, and mobile connectivity
  • Catalyst 6500 with a new supervisor engine, helping to increase network throughput from 720 Gbps to 2 Tbps, a threefold jump
  • The industry’s first Universal Power Over Ethernet for the Catalyst 4500, which means lower power consumption
  • Less wireless interference thanks to Cisco’s CleanAir technology

Of course, with more than 80% of our business flowing through our partners, we recognize that we cannot just focus on earning market share, but we must also work hard to earn your loyalty every single day.

It’s Cisco’s goal to create the most successful and profitable partners in the world.

As the Next Cisco takes shape, we are re-focusing, reorganizing, and becoming stronger and leaner. We’re focused on five key corporate priorities and, as always, maintaining trust with our customers and partners remains top of mind for me and for the entire executive team, as Rob Lloyd highlighted in his blog post this week.

Together, we had many successes over the years, and you’ve done a great job helping us tell our story.

Here are just a few highlights from Cisco partners: Read More »

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