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A New Type of Publication

Jon Ashley, the editor of the newish publication, Cisco Services Dynamics recently asked me if I’d be interested in providing an article on Cloud Computing.  I gladly agreed and after a quick briefing from Jon was off and typing.  While none of this is all that unusual, it turns out that Cisco Services Dynamics is a different sort of publication.

The first thing that sets Dynamics apart is the emphasis placed on having the articles be informative, concise and, focused on Services.  Since I was planning a piece on Cloud it seemed this would be a bit of a “no brainer”.  However, I found my first draft lacking in a couple of areas.   For starters I was not all that concise; I was frankly a bit long winded.  Secondly I missed the mark on being informative.  Seems I, like many marketers, confused informative with selling.   However with a bit of coaching from Jon I was able to re-work my piece and submit it for publication.

Recently I received an email letting me know Cisco Services Dynamics Edition 3 was officially available; and thanking me for my contribution.   This is where another nice feature of the publication came to light.  You can choose to receive the publication in a printed format, on-line, or both.   I choose the on-line version and found that it takes advantage of its on-line format and provides much more than a pleasing interface that allows you to “turn the pages”, share via Twitter and LinkedIn, and integrated video and expanding text boxes.

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Cloud: The Next Truly Transformative Innovation

From the IT Executive Symposium at Cisco Live 2012

We all dream of inventing the next breakthrough product, or creating the next company that no one can live without. The truth, however, is that innovation rarely occurs that way. Innovation isn’t just about invention—it’s about creating value. And it isn’t just important—it’s critical to a company’s growth and success.

Every few decades, something truly innovative occurs—a transformative development with global impact. The human species has pulled away from the rest of the animal kingdom predominantly because of our ability to communicate and collaborate. Every time we make a major improvement in the communication/collaboration arena, innovation accelerates at an exponential rate, and humankind moves forward dramatically. The printing press moved us from spoken transmission taking months, to printed materials that could reach the masses in weeks. The telephone gave us instant communication over any distance. The Internet moved us from paper to electronic processes. And today, we are on the cusp of the next truly transformative innovation: the cloud. Read More »

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Advanced Services for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Last month, James Sharp wrote about Cisco Advanced Services, and how together with partners, Cisco can offer Canadian businesses the services they need, when they need them.

James goes on to say how there are specific  ways advanced services can help depending on which stage of the lifecycle you are currently in. This makes me think of food, and how meals during the day help keep me running efficiently and effectively, just like the services Cisco offers for your data center during different stage of the lifecycle process.

Breakfast (Plan)

Didn’t your parents always tell you that breakfast is the most important part of the day? Well, without proper planning, you will certainly be in a hard place to begin building. Planning services assess your current data center and provide in-depth recommendations for building and managing.

Lunch (Build)

Lunch involves design and implementation. No, there’s no nap after.

Dinner (Manage)

If you don’t have hearty dinner, you may not be on the top of your game for the next day. Managing is all about being proactive by anticipating issues before they arise and optimizing performance.

And as for dessert? Read what James has to say about his personal experiences with advanced services and Cisco customers:

Click here to read James’s full post

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Edzard Overbeek Appointed Head of Cisco Services

As Cisco continues to grow, there will naturally be management changes across the business—this gives us a real opportunity to empower smart, collaborative people with diverse skill sets to lead us into the next phase for the company.

Cisco’s leadership bench today already has such a breadth and depth of these capabilities that we remain focused on our internal talent pool to fill leadership roles as they become available.

Effective at the start of fiscal year 2013, Edzard Overbeek, SVP, Asia Pacific, Japan, and Greater China (APJC), will lead Cisco’s Global Services business from San Jose, CA, reporting directly to me.

I will continue to oversee the Services business until Edzard assumes his new role at the start of the fiscal year, and then I will focus full time on leading the daily operations of the company and aggressively driving our transformation.

Edzard has 12 years of demonstrated success at Cisco in geographic sales and channel leadership roles, most recently as the leader for our business in Asia and co-chair of the Emerging Countries Council, where he successfully drove adoption of new business models for the company. His background is ideally suited in the areas where we expect growth for the Services business.

The current services leadership team — Ed Baum, Nick Earle, Joe Pinto, Sameer Padhye and Parvesh Sethi—will report directly to Edzard once he assumes his new role.

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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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