Cisco's Lloyd: 'Find Me A Customer Where We Can't Sell Something Today'

Cisco's top global sales executive Thursday said the opportunities for Cisco partners are by now so deep and wide that partners have a story to tell every potential prospect, from healthcare CIOs to financial services managers. And Cisco, fresh from a belt-tightening restructuring effort, is now in a much better position to serve the channel, he said.

"Find me a customer where we can't sell something today," said Rob Lloyd, Cisco executive vice president, worldwide operations, at Cisco Partner Summit in San Diego.

Along with a few widely expected competitive barbs thrown at HP, Huawei and Microsoft, Lloyd used his closing session speech to confirm a number of incremental partner incentives tied to several Catalyst and Nexus switch lines, and also a major investment by Cisco in services to help partners push Cisco's Jabber platform into more customer opportunities.

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Specifically, Cisco will offer incremental incentives of 5 percent on Catalyst 6500 switches, 4 percent on Catalyst 4200 switches, 5 percent on Nexus 7000 switches and 3 percent on Nexus 5000 and 2000 switches under its Teaming Incentive Program (TIP) and Opportunity Incentive Program (OIP) offers.

Specific to the Catalyst promotions, Lloyd said that there's more than $40 billion in currently deployed Cisco Catalyst 6000 and 4000 switching infrastructure that's in need of an upgrade to support video and other next-generation network demands.

Cisco is also investing $1 million to help partners with the services needed to deploy Jabber, Cisco's platform for embedding access to Cisco's various UC functions, from voice to presence to messaging, into various client devices and operating systems.

Earlier in the Partner Summit, Cisco confirmed that Jabber will be made available at no additional license cost for customers already using Cisco Unified Communications Manager -- a move widely applauded by partners during the show and also seen as competitive jockeying by Cisco against Microsoft, which is making headway in the UC space with its Lync platform.

Lloyd's core message was that Cisco's portfolio leadership-- how it's innovating around market priorities such as video, cloud and mobility -- creates an opportunity for solution providers to solve business challenges everywhere from the data center to the desktop, and through what Cisco's been plugging as an "intelligent network," create efficient cloud computing models whether they're private, hybrid or public.

"I'd rather be the leader than a participant in any of the markets we participate in today," he said.

NEXT: Lloyd On HP, Huawei and Microsoft

Lloyd, who makes no secret of how he sees Cisco thwarting major competitors, fired shots at Microsoft, HP and Huawei, saying all three operate contrary to Cisco's so-called "work your way" strategy of enabling customers through architectural approaches to networking and business transformation.

"If you work your way with Microsoft, there's only one way -- their way," he said.

For HP, "after years of starving R&D, lack of innovation and so much money attached to the past, you don't work your way, you work the old way."

And of Huawei, Lloyd said, "If you work the Huawei way, well, I can assure you folks they're already working on the copy. Imitation isn't innovation."

Conspicuously absent from Lloyd's competitive rundown were both Avaya and Juniper, whom Cisco CEO John Chambers had mentioned earlier in the week and had identified, along with Huawei and HP, as Cisco's key four competitors in a speech to financial analysts last fall.

Solution providers have applauded Cisco's efforts to become simpler at a corporate level and easier to do business with. Lloyd said Cisco had more work to do on its systems and processes and that Cisco would continue to become more efficient.

Jere Brown, CEO, Americas at South Africa-based integrator giant Dimension Data, said Cisco's restructuring was already paying dividends in his piece of the business.

"In the past, Latin America was part of emerging markets at Cisco, so we had to deal with multiple entities within the Cisco organization," he told CRN this week. "Our goal is to drive consistent performance and delivery for our clients and that really got in the way of making that happen. Now you have the channel organization aligned with the Cisco theater, and the theaters own the money, and we know where to go to get decisions made in a much faster time for our clients. That helps a lot."

Cisco's major services announcement at Partner Summit -- the Cisco Services Partner Program (CSPP) which collapses 47 global services programs into one -- is also important, Brown stressed.

"We support global, multinational clients and we want consistency in the approach, so this allows us to do that and Cisco to do that," he said. "We're a multibillion-dollar organization so it's not easy for us to turn on a dime -- we need time to plan, transition from one program to another and make sure it doesn't impact our business and our clients. But we're excited about the changes."