Cisco Channel Kingpin Peres Tapped To Fast-Track InterCloud Initiative

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Cisco Systems Thursday said longtime worldwide channel chief Edison Peres has been tapped to drive partner recruitment and enablement in Cisco's fast-moving new cloud organization.

Peres, who for more than a decade has served as Cisco's senior vice president of Worldwide Channels and in 2013 was named CRN's Top Channel Sales Leader of the year, is taking on a new role as senior vice president of Cloud and Managed Services, the channel veteran told CRN Thursday.

"Part of my agenda has always been to move and help partners move into this hybrid IT business model, and you can't deliver hybrid IT experiences to end-user customers if there isn't an element of managed services and cloud," Peres said. "I feel personally excited about the ability to be able to continue that journey and to be able to support that in an even more aggressive way."

Peres' move is part of a broader organizational shake-up within Cisco aimed at driving its new InterCloud initiative. Unveiled at the networking giant's Global Partner Summit event last month, InterCloud involves a mix of public, private and hybrid clouds hosted within a network of Cisco and partner-owned data centers built on end-to-end Cisco gear.

Cisco will be offering cloud services direct and through a network of cloud services partners. Initially, these partners include Australian service provider Telstra, Ingram Micro and Logicalis, and Cisco told CRN Thursday that additions to its InterCloud partner ecosystem will be disclosed at the Cisco Live event later this month.

Peres stressed that, while his role is changing, he will still work closely with Cisco's core partner and channel organization, which is still being headed up by Bruce Klein, senior vice president of the Worldwide Partner Organization.

"It's a lot of what I do today," Peres said of the new role. "But I am going to make a more concentrated effort in the spirit of where Cisco is trying to go."

Bob Cagnazzi, CEO of Presidio, a New York-based Cisco Gold partner and No. 26 on CRN's Solution Provider 500 list, said Peres' move to head up Cisco's cloud channel strategy sends a "pretty powerful" message to Cisco partners about the networking giant's commitment to cloud.

"The InterCloud announcement, I think, was terrific in letting us and our customers understand how Cisco was going to go after the cloud space," said Cagnazzi. "And with the announcement on Edison, it's a very strong message that InterCloud, true to Cisco's heritage, is going to be a very channel-led offering and good opportunity for partners to build solutions around Cisco's cloud strategy."

Gary Alexander, owner of Alexander Open Systems, an Overland Park, Kan.-based Cisco Gold partner and No. 120 on the CRN SP500 list, agreed that Peres' new role speaks volumes about Cisco's commitment to making InterCloud a channel play.

"This is the guy who got the rebate program VIP instituted in Cisco and that has made a huge difference to the partner community and has been instrumental in, I think, building out the most loyal channel program in the industry," Alexander said of Peres. "It's very important for us because we bought a data center company and since then have invested many dollars into our own cloud strategy, so having somebody [heading up Cisco's cloud organization] that comes out of the channel, knows how to work with the channel and wants to work with the channel, that's critical to us."

Cisco's Klein, for his part, said he will assume Peres' responsibilities as global channel chief.

"Those functions that reported to Edison before, I will be more heavily involved in those discussions," Klein said. "And I will be having more of those conversations with partners, as it relates to go-to-market, programs, distribution and transformation strategies. That's my personal commitment to our team."

Cagnazzi said having Klein step up to take over Peres' former responsibilities is a win-win; partners get the comfort of knowing Peres is heading up Cisco's cloud channel charge, while they have the "steady hand of Bruce to continue to work on the programs that Edison and the rest of his team have put into place over the years."

NEXT: NEXT: Meet Cisco's New Cloud Team

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