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As Cisco is continuously challenged by HP, Juniper and other aggressive threats to its core networking businesses, Lloyd contends Cisco will reinvest in partners to make them more profitable selling Cisco. One of the biggest advantages Cisco partners have is that Cisco turns over a majority of services opportunities to partners -- something that won't falter, Lloyd said.
"We build practices to accelerate the adoption of converged data center, private cloud, collaboration, virtualization, expert solutions that our customers can see and demand. [Partners] need to help build those practices they take into their services and into their businesses. That's the Cisco model," he said. "We're not out there at the end of the day competing with them and creating a hard deck of customers: 'You can go out and work with these players and we're going to take these ones direct.' That's not the Cisco model."
Cisco solution providers contacted by CRN said Cisco has a long way to go to make good on its promises of more resources and more profitably for partners as a result of the restructuring. But most agreed Cisco is saying all the right things as it attempts to right its ship.
"I am optimistic about the Cisco restructuring efforts – they are saying the right things so far," said Andy Cadwell, vice president of sales for INX, a Dallas-based solution provider and Cisco Gold partner. "As we all know now, Cisco as a whole has become a more bureaucratic, layered organization and more confusing to work with even with good channel support staff. Having U.S. field sales and channels across segments reporting up to a single head should foster more accountability and agility."
Cadwell said he's hopeful Cisco's restructuring will mean better alignment between Cisco and its channel partners at a strategic level.
"Re-examining channel partner profitability for their most loyal partners, getting much more succinct on Cisco's business-technology value proposition, defining Cisco's services posture and supporting vertically oriented partners like INX should all be top of mind as they move forward," Cadwell said.
Bob Venero, CEO of Future Tech, a Holbrook, New York solution provider, said it remains to be seen how the restructuring will ultimately impact partners.
"I don't know what the end result is going to be for the partner community," he said. "It's too early to tell. It takes a good amount of time to be able to turn a very large aircraft carrier like Cisco two or three degrees. It is going to take a while to see what the results will be. The hope is we'll be able to see something in the next two quarters that shows they are serious (about the partner led sales model) so we can see exactly how it will impact our business."