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Are there specific vertical markets or segments growing faster than others within Americas? Certainly we've seen the uptick in video and what's special for Cisco in the collaboration space, but are there pockets or pieces of the Cisco line that you'd highlight as particularly strong in Americas?
The major transitions that our customers are dealing with are how do I make the transition to the elements of cloud and as-a-service, but all of our customers are dealing with pervasive mobility. The bring-your-own-device issue is there, and the security implications that creates. Every customer also has a data center initiative under way to not only optimize their data center infrastructure and become more efficient but provide more agility to the business.
We believe that the data center play in conjunction with virtual desktops will be a key element of how our customers deal with the security implications of this mobility issue that I've talked about. Then there's the collaboration and business video opportunity. Our customers are no longer asking whether they should have a business video strategy. It's simply: How do I implement and when do I implement? All of those customers are looking at core network refreshes, which are obviously good for us and good for our partners.
Cisco has had a class of video partners that sold telepresence, and gained a number of folks with the Tandberg acquisition who had A/V integration and video backgrounds. As video has grown, has the net number of video partners continued to increase since Tandberg? Are you seeing substantially more partners adding video to their line card?
I think it's a natural extension for our partners that have had UC practices to begin to pick up the video solutions, primarily because we see the customer making decisions between video-enabled handsets and video-specific devices. We always had a strategy that we want to open up technologies for our partners in a way that provides a great profitability opportunity and the need to create a business proposition. That's what we continue to look at as we move forward in any market, particularly video.
When the announcement came down that with the restructuring you would own the Americas number and Jim and a lot of the channel heads in the Americas would roll up to you, I think there was confusion among partners who thought a lot of the channel program and resource discussion would come solely under you and less so Keith, Edison and the WWPO. It sounds like that's not the case, but can you talk about how it's different than before? Why and how?
Keith and Edison and the team continue to own the overall program definition and the program evolution in our partner community. The advantage for them is they have the three geographies around the world to engage with to make sure we're aligned around what we want to accomplish. If there's a funding element it gets funded by the geographies and obviously we want our team to be bought into it and then to be supportive on a daily basis with whatever we're trying to roll out. It's a very collaborative process we go through.
We will have discussions about what we need to do as a geography in the Americas to make sure we're supporting the programs and that they are aligned around our team's behavior. An example would be the Teaming Incentive Program that we recently rolled out. We had some challenges with our team not understanding it, and not approving deals in a timely fashion. Edison and Keith and Jim and I agreed we'd put out a mandatory training for all of our teams around their responsibility in making sure this Teaming Incentive Program was successful. We worked together and will continue to do so.
So are those as-needed type of discussions or is it safe to say you're in constant touch with the WWPO?
Jim is a virtual member of their team as well as our team, and he's engaged in every staff meeting and the weekly forecast calls. He's the bridge, but we have discussions on broader issues as needed. There is active involvement weekly between our organizations.
We've talked about partner led as a strategy and selling motion that the small business and midsize-focused partners have been used to for a while. In your words, what's partner-led going to do for commercial partners? You know their mentality well from running the commercial sales organization for Cisco in the U.S.
I think that what it really means is greater systems integration, greater support, more focused programs and a greater acknowledgment by our field organization as to how we're going to go to market in these areas. Number one, we've had teams that have been operating in this way in the field for a couple of years. Alison Gleeson has been working on a model similar to this, and Bruce Klein, who runs public sector, is looking at taking advantage of this moving into our fiscal year. The biggest difference, and the thing that's going to make this come to life, is system investments: the programs, the rewards, and all the things Andrew and his team are working on.
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