Cisco Poised To Launch New Cloud Computing Channel Programs

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Cisco Senior Vice President, U.S. and Canada Partners, Jim Sherriff Thursday said the networking giant is poised to launch new cloud computing channel programs at its partner summit later this month.

Sherriff said partners will see a Cisco "deep dive around cloud" with new programs aimed at giving partners multiple cloud computing opportunities that range from building clouds to operating clouds to reselling clouds. "We'll put out a comprehensive plan at the Partner Summit (Feb. 28- March 3 in New Orleans)," he said.

Sherriff made the cloud computing comments in an interview with CRN after a keynote session at the annual sales kickoff for NWN, the Waltham Mass. headquartered $263 million national solution provider which grew its Cisco data center business by a whopping 601 percent last year.

Sherriff said the cloud computing opportunity is "intertwined" with the massive Cisco data center offensive which Cisco estimates as a $45 billion opportunity. "A big portion of that is going towards the cloud," he said. Cisco sees the cloud computing opportunity separately as at least another $10 billion opportunity.

Sherriff told the more than 200 NWN employees that Cisco is focused flat out on solution providers like NWN as its cloud computing route to market. "We are not confused on whether we are going direct or trying to compete with you by building an outsourcing business or compete with you by creating our own cloud offerings to squash any opportunity you might have," he said. "Our go-to-market strategy is through you. It has been like that for 15 years and it will continue to be like that."

That no-holds barred channel commitment could be a big differentiator for Cisco in the cloud computing market transition given the identity crises that some of its competitors face building out their own services businesses. What's more, Cisco has a successful track record of adapting its channel model to new emerging markets.

Sherriff, in fact, stressed that Cisco is "uniquely positioned to help drive market transitions" like cloud computing with partners like NWN. "We see those market transitions and what it means in terms of the potential to add value and create value for your customers," he said. "We do things that help you grow and help you grow profitably."

Sherriff's comments on the cloud opportunity echo those of Cisco Senior Vice President Worldwide Channels Edison Peres, who told CRN last fall that Cisco partners become more relevant as a result of the cloud.

Peres said at the time that Cisco partners will be seen as cloud resellers, cloud builders or cloud providers, and that the lines between those categories will continue to blur. "Many partners see cloud as a threat, and many see it as an opportunity. We see it as an opportunity if you're proactive in how you evolve your model, because the mix of revenues is going to change," Peres said at the time.


Next: Helping Partners Drive Market Transitions

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