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Rob Lloyd, Cisco's executive vice president for worldwide operations, said Cisco is aware of its shortcomings and is making the series of targeted moves Chairman and CEO John Chambers promised would re-focus Cisco after a year of disappointing earnings and partner frustration.
Lloyd joined Cisco in 1994, the year before Chambers took over the top job, and assumed his current position in February 2009 after several successful years running Cisco's U.S., Canada and Japan operations and before that, Cisco's EMEA theater. As an EVP, he now oversees Cisco's worldwide channels, worldwide sales, and Internet Business Solutions Group, and serves on Cisco's Executive Committee. He is often mentioned by Cisco insiders on the short list of potential successors to Chambers.
Lloyd recently joined CRN Senior Editor Chad Berndtson for a discussion of how Cisco's restructuring will ultimately benefit Cisco partners, and why Cisco's architectural approach to networking and data center sales makes more money for the channel than competitive offerings. Excerpts of the conversation follow:
From the Cisco partner perspective I'm hearing some confusion but more importantly a lot of interest in how Cisco is going to emerge from the restructuring, heading into its fiscal 2012, as a better partner. So my broad question to you is: How is Cisco going to make solution providers more profitable this year?
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When I think of that decade-long march in this shift to a value-based portfolio of product and services that drives profitability and differentiation, we're just going to continue to pour more fuel onto that engine, put more fuel into that engine. It's been a great relationship. It's one that built trust. It's one that's mutually beneficial. It's one that's enabled partners to grow and improve their profitability. So what we're going to do is keep doing more of the same. One of the things that we have seen and had some great feedback on is the drive toward an architectural approach to customers where we [leverage] our portfolio in interesting ways and drive that portfolio with our partners' services to enable them to differentiate. It's working. We're going to do more of that.
However, we're going to simplify the way in which we interact with our customers and our partners. We're going to simplify the way in which we make available our resources and programs. We're going to simplify the way Cisco operates internally so we can speed up the pace in which we bring these types of innovations and capabilities. We're going to continue to drive a reputation which our partners have relied on and the customers we jointly serve for innovation and leadership. We're one of the very few companies that makes new markets happen, and when I think of the essence of our relationship with partners, our partnerships are a model for the industry, certainly the networking industry, because we make things happen together.
Nobody thought that our approach in the data center would become the benchmark approach. Nobody believed we would help drive the convergence of network fabrics with a unified fabric. Nobody believed there was a tight integration with the network fabric and computing in the virtualization layer and that the network played a role. We made a market with our partners. We made unified communications happen with our partners when everyone less said that it was sort of too far off and that incumbent suppliers like Nortel and others had their view that it was time to stall the market. That's the essence of our relationship. As we streamline our business and simplify our operating model, I think we should just add speed and agility and more innovation to the mix and that's where I think we'll begin as we enter the new year and where we'll try to be better and better every day.