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CRN: We're continuing to see an enormous amount of consolidation among Cisco partners who see buying other companies or buddying up as the best way to grab the breadth of architecture opportunity promoted by Cisco. Do you expect it to keep happening?
Klein:In some cases, I think the ability to buy versus build is easier. I'm also seeing globalization; they want to expand globally. So we are seeing that, in companies like Presidio buying BlueWater -- becoming quite large partners with Cisco with tremendous advantage in scope and scale.
CRN: You'll still have partners that can't or won't expand this way. Will smaller, specialized partners become less relevant to Cisco going forward?
Klein:No, I think there's room for both the broader partners that cover lots of technologies and the boutique partners. Customers are still buying in terms of a collaboration environment or a data center refresh so there are opportunities for all those types of partners.
CRN: Another thing that came up a lot this past year was Cisco helping partners improve their valuations and make themselves more attractive in this M&A climate. Is that still a priority for the WWPO?
Klein:Getting return on Cisco is still a priority, and that plays into the whole focus on profitability. If they make a big investment in Cisco, what is their return on Cisco? We are continuing to look at that in its entirety as we build the model.
CRN: There have obviously been personnel changes other than you in the WWPO, with Wendy Bahr moving back over and Jim Sherriff moving out and the others. Are you happy with your team now and do you expect more changes?
Klein:First of all, I'm blessed and honored to lead this team. I'm impressed with the work we do. We're continuing to firm things up and one area we're looking is marketing. [Since Amanda Jobbins left], Karen Walker has been working with us, and we're interviewing right now for a partner marketing leader. Hopefully we will have one announced before the end of January.
CRN: Are you looking at both internal and external candidates?
CRN: No other major holes to fill?
Klein:We've consolidated our Cisco Sales Associate Program, and we also had a number of resources working on cloud so we decided to consolidate that under one leader, Bob Gault, who now has both managed services and cloud. He's our single throat to choke there, if you will. But right now we're all about executing. We have a great team in place.