Cisco Distributors Ready To Roll Up Sleeves With Brown

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Cisco's top distributor partners are roundly impressed with Scott Brown, who this week was named vice president, worldwide distribution at the networking heavyweight. In a series of interviews. they urged Brown to focus on tightening Cisco's go-to-market relationships with its distributors and continue to strengthen its supply chain oversight, too.

Brown, who succeeds Dave O'Callghan in the role, will be in charge of Cisco's $11 billion worldwide distribution business, which accounts for about 28 percent of its overall revenue and includes close ties with a number of major distributors.

"My initial impression is very positive. He's polished, professional and has tons of experience within Cisco," said William Corbin, executive vice president for global vendor relationships at Comstor, the Cisco-centric unit of Westcon Group. "His background enables him to continue what Dave O'Callaghan put in place, and expand upon those initiatives for partner profitability and making distribution a much more integral part of the supply chain for Cisco."

Brown was in attendance at this week's Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC) Vendor Summit in Newport Beach, Calif., where he met with many of Cisco's top distribution executives for the first time. In an exclusive interview with CRN Wednesday, Brown said he would seek "the external view" of Cisco's distributor channel and base his initial priorities on that feedback.

"We got introduced and I got to spend some time with him," said Chuck Bartlett, vice president and general manager of the Advanced Infrastructure Solutions group at Tech Data. "He's extremely well connected to the sales teams and he can accelerate the things that Dave O'Callaghan did. Dave did a really good job talking to the theaters about the value-add Tech Data can bring to the market. In a lot of cases when we deal with a very large vendor like Cisco, with tens of thousands of partners, it's hard to get our message out that we do more than the broadline, pick-pack-and-ship side of the business."

Bartlett, who was vice president of Tech Data's Cisco Solutions Group through May of this year, said there's a lot more Tech Data and Cisco can do to collaborate, especially as Cisco continues its push into the data center on the strength of its Unified Computing System (UCS) and releases more products and services around video and collaboration.

One thing the two companies have done is create an event for "next generation" Cisco partners that work with Tech Data. That conference, dubbed Tech Data Cisco Ignite, will kick off near San Diego next week and bring together about 100 partners who know Cisco, but aren't actively involved in Cisco's partner community and aren't taking full advantage of either Cisco's or Tech Data's full capabilities.

"We can educate and enable the partners on Cisco, but also be able to give them the ability to go in and solve end user problems," said Angie Beltz-Norrie, the new vice president of Tech Data's Cisco Solutions group, who said that Tech Data would look to do more types of events and programs like Ignite with Cisco.


Next: How Cisco's Brown Can Tighten Relationship

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