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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – December 18, 2015

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Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

New Executive Insight Series: Q & A with Wendy Bahr

We kicked off a new series this week here on the partner blog.  Our Executive Insight series will visit with Cisco execs from time to time to provide partners insight into Cisco’s key focus areas, themes, tech topics and more as they relate to our partners and the partner ecosystem.

We couldn’t have had a more appropriate first guest as Global Partner Organization lead and Cisco SVP, Wendy Bahr, sat down with me for a chat.  She fields questions on her first few months, conversations with partners, what she’s learned, partner summit 2016 updates and more.

And, be sure to check out the related channel press coverage:

Create an Attitude of Gratitude: Not Just for the Holiday Season

This month, Karin Surber wrapped up her 2015 blogging year with some words of wisdom fit for the holidays. However, her message was to keep that ‘attitude of gratitude’ alive beyond the holidays. How you say?

Well, luckily, Karin provided some tips on how to do just that and highlighted one of her favorite charities. Read her piece for some insightful end-of-the-year advice!

Good Reads

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Executive Insight: Q and A with SVP Wendy Bahr

Cisco Partners Executive Insight QA Bahr

Today on the Partner Blog we’re kicking off a new Executive Insight series, where we’ll be visiting with Cisco executives to gain insight into key focus areas, themes, and topics that pertain to our partner ecosystem.

And what better way to start than by having Wendy Bahr, SVP, Global Partner Organization, join us for a discussion?

Wendy became head of Cisco’s Global Partner Organization in July. She’s been extremely busy in her first few months, travelling across the globe to spend time with partners, hear their stories, and see first-hand how Cisco partners are driving innovation with customers. We got a chance to catch up with Wendy this week to chat about her new role, what she’s been hearing from partners, and what she’s most excited about as she prepares to host her first Partner Summit on February 29.

Darek Rensing: Wendy, thanks so much for your time. I know you’ve been quite busy since day one in your new role. Most of that time has been dedicated to partners, as you’ve travelled all around meeting with them and listening to what’s top of mind for them. What are your personal takeaways from these experiences, and what are the top asks of Cisco coming from partners?

Wendy Bahr: Well, to answer the first part of your question: we have, without a doubt, the best partner ecosystem in the world. I spent nine years in the channel before coming into this role, and this has allowed me to gain a deep understanding of the challenges that our partners face. It has also given me the opportunity to meet face to face with hundreds of partners – most recently during my listening tour in Asia Pacific, U.S. and EMEAR. I am – as always – impressed with the versatility, the innovation, and breadth of expertise that exists within our partner ecosystem.

Many of the conversations I’ve had with our partners over the past few months have been about the challenges around the breadth of Cisco’s portfolio, our sometimes complex processes, and the transformation of our business to a more software-centric, ‘as a service’ model. It’s clear that we need greater simplicity across our entire portfolio and better alignment between our partners and our field sales organization.

DR: Cisco has had quite a few announcements in the last few months – from acquisitions to major strategic partnerships announced with Apple and Ericsson. What do these moves mean for partners, both in the near future and over the long term?

WB: Cisco and our partners know first-hand that finding the right partner (or partners) is critical to deliver business outcomes to our customers. Our partners also know that Cisco is always looking ahead and moving fast as a company in order to capture market transitions and stay out in front of the competition. This is nothing new – we’ve been doing this for years.

What is new, and what these partnerships mean, is that we’re investing in Cisco’s market leadership for the next decade and beyond. A changing market means new opportunity, and we want to continue to foster growth, profitability, and customer success across our partner ecosystem. That means being bold and innovative and taking risks, but also positioning ourselves – and ultimately our partners – to be able to act quickly and adapt when new opportunities arise.

DR: There has also been a decent amount of change within Cisco and also within the Global Partner Organization. What’s your message to partners about why these moves had been made?

WB: As you’ve heard Chuck and members of our new leadership team discuss, every country, city and business is becoming digital. Cisco continues to evolve our business in the digital era to bring even greater value to our customers. As we do this, we must ensure that our partners are making this transformation along with us, capturing market trends and delivering what our customers need most, all while driving growth and profit.

Chuck’s vision for Cisco, our partners and customers in this digital era, along with what I’ve heard from partners globally, created a perfect opportunity to look at what we are doing in GPO and ensure we are focusing on the right priorities.

Based on all of the conversations that I’ve had with partners over the past several months – as well as my previous experience working with our channel partners – I’ve created a set of guiding principles designed to help provide the best resources, programs and experience for partners. These are centered around simplicity, alignment, and evolving our value exchange.

DR: Can you tell us more about these principles? Specifically, what do they mean for partners?

WB: Simplicity is about taking complexity out of the system; simplifying how we do business so we can spend more time helping our partners address market changes and capture new opportunities.

When I talk about alignment what I mean is increasing alignment between partners and the Cisco field to help them move faster, drive greater agility, and increase growth. I’ve heard from our partners that one of their main objectives is to be in sync with our sales teams. We need to facilitate this alignment, as well as provide growth opportunities specific to our partners’ respective regions. We also need to expand our connected partner ecosystem so that partners are prepared to capture unprecedented opportunities that will arise as we capture new market transitions.

Finally, the foundation of any good partnership is a mutual exchange of value where both sides feel rewarded. As our technology landscape continues to change, we need to revisit our incentives and how we reward partners. What has worked previously is not necessarily what will work today or in the future. Our value exchange needs to keep pace with the market dynamics and needs to accommodate different partner types and roles. It also needs to reflect, as I mentioned earlier, the transformation of our business to a more software-centric, ‘as a service’ model.

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – October 23, 2015

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Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

It’s All About Connections

Rick Snyder, Vice President, Americas Partner Organization, contributed his first blog post since taking on his new role.

Rick had quite a few takeaways from his recent trip to Orlando for the Best of Breed Conference, none more important than a partner CEO keynote. Check out his blog post to see why decision making is shifting from IT to line of business (LOB).

CRN’s Exclusive interview with Wendy Bahr

The new Cisco Channel Chief has had a busy first 90 days – a time period that includes traveling around the world talking to partners to ‘get a sense of what they want to see from the networking giant in the digital age.’

She also fields questions on when the recent Apple partnership will be implemented into the Cisco Channel Program, the Dell-EMC deal, and a number of partner updates around the corner. Check out the full interview by CRN’s Mark Haranas.

Karin Surber Says Using These Marketing Tips Can Mean Big Business

Karin Surber is back at it, this time she’s delivering best marketing practices for partners.

We all know social is at the forefront of today’s marketing universe. But Karin asks us not to forget about 3 other tactics that can grow your business and compliment social media.

  • Content marketing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Email marketing

See what else she has to say to partners about these important techniques.

Good Reads

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – October 2, 2015

Partner-Weekly-Rewind-v2

Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

Lead Cloud Disruption and Adoption. We’re with You

We have another partner blogger debut this week as Christian Treille joined us to discuss the recently launched Cisco Business Cloud Advisor – a framework to help customers take actionable cloud adoption plans.

Now we’ve made it available for partners.

Given the advantage this tool can provide our partners, I’m not surprised the Director of Cloud and Managed Services, Partner Enablement, decided to make this his first topic as a partner blogger. Be sure to read his post to see how cisco partners and their customers can benefit.

CRN – 100 People You Don’t Know But Should

I always love CRN’s annual tribute to the “behind-the-scenes channel players worthy of  attention.” For the 2015 edition, Cisco had three of their very own featured! Join me in congratulating Bridget Bisnette, Sr. Director, Partner Marketing; Scott Herron, Sr. Director, Global Customer Success; and Peder Ulander, VP, Cloud and Managed Services Partner organization.

CRN sums up the recognition as follows: “The technology industry is filled with rock stars, high-profile executives who stand in the spotlight at partner conferences and technology events to present the world with the industry’s latest achievements. But delivering these breakthroughs to the world is hardly a one-man show and behind these executives stand the unsung heroes, the shining stars on vendors’ channel management teams.”

Again, we welcome you to take a moment to congratulate Bridget, Scott and Peder for being recognized for all of their hard work.

Wendy Bahr Sits Down with Channel World India

 Wendy BahrCisco’s SVP of the Global Partner Organization, Wendy Bahr, took a moment on her recent trip to India to chat with Yogesh Gupta of Channel World India.

As you can imagine, she’s been quite busy during the first 2.5 months in her new role. This interview is a great way to get you up to speed on what she’s been focused on, her channel and partner priorities, and lots more. I highly encourage you to check it out.

As always, let us know what you think of the blog. Feedback from partners, especially around partner programs, is vital for Cisco to keep producing programs that work for all of us.

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – July 17, 2015

Partner-Weekly-Rewind-v2

Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

Well, we’re in the dog days of summer here in North Carolina, and my dogs are celebrating by lying around on the couch all day. Sounds like a pretty great summer afternoon now that I think about it! As the weather has heated up here in the southern U.S., so has the news coming out of Cisco, such as when I mentioned last week that Wendy Bahr would be the new SVP for the Worldwide Partner Organization at Cisco.

It’s been a little quieter this week, but before I close out the week, there are a couple of items to bring to your attention, just in case you missed them this week.

Are you ready for SNTC convergence?

To get ready for the convergence of SMARTnet into Smart Net Total Care, there are a few changes you’ll need to make in the next five months.

We’ve put together a checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything.  Read More »

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