CRN Exclusive: Cisco Set To Reorganize Cloud Division

Cisco will be reorganizing its Cloud and Managed Service Organization after the departure of its cloud channel leader Edison Peres, the company told CRN Thursday.

Although details on the restructuring are expected to be revealed in the next few days, Peres told CRN that his position as senior vice president of Cisco's Cloud and Managed Service Partner Organization (CMSO) will not be filled after his retirement Nov. 1.

"The good news is that we're actually mainstreaming a lot of the field operations that we've had in the cloud business into the broader sales organization, which we think, after incubating for the last year, it's time to be able to do that and really leverage that broader sales organization," said Peres, 56, in an interview with CRN. "We’re going to be restructuring the CMSO organization."

[Related: Channel Veteran Peres Leaving Cisco]

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Peres said responsibility for driving channel sales of Cisco's cloud offerings will fall to its new global channel chief Wendy Bahr and her team, as well as Senior Vice President Global Cloud and Managed Services Sales Nick Earle.

"It's going to be much more of a mainstream function, which is what we want to try to do to really leverage the power of the sales organization at Cisco," said Peres of his role at Cisco.

While sad to see channel stalwart Peres leaving his post, some Cisco partners are optimistically welcoming the broader changes the San Jose, Calif.-based networking giant will be implementing in its cloud division.

"I welcome them putting more visibility into cloud and managed services at the sales level," said Robert Keblusek, chief technology officer at Sentinel Technologies, a Downers Grove, Ill.-based Cisco partner. "Up until now though, the field sales engagement hasn't been as integrated as we would like."

Keblusek said it will help his own company's integrated cloud technologies and services platform, Sentinel CloudSelect, grow by giving it more visibility.

Another solution provider, who asked not to be identified, said one could argue that it diminishes the focus because Cisco doesn't have a senior executive like Peres leading the channel charge.

"You could say they don't have that senior guy anymore that's well-respected looking over it all," said the executive. "You could also argue if they're not refilling his position, you obviously lose that extra helping hand."

Other solution providers say Peres' job was to get Cisco's cloud strategy "off the ground" and grab attention for Cisco's Intercloud efforts, which he successfully accomplished.

"Now that it's off the ground and become central to what they do as a strategic component, they're just going to integrate that into all there operational models," said David Powell, vice president of managed and cloud services at Cisco partner TekLinks. "It's not a bad thing."

Peres served more than a decade as Cisco's senior vice president of worldwide channels. He moved into his current role in May 2014, tasked with leading Cisco's channel partners to the cloud trough.

At the time, partners said it was comforting knowing that Peres would lead Cisco's cloud push.

"When Peres moved over to cloud, that really addressed a gap, because when the Cisco cloud and Intercloud came out, it wasn't clear from the channel lens where the channel play was," said Kent MacDonald, vice president of converged infrastructure and network services at Long View Systems, a Calgary, Alberta-based solution provider and Gold Cisco partner. "With Edison moving over there, that was a big vote of confidence for the channel. We knew if Edison was there, the channel would be elevated in Cisco's cloud strategy."

This year, Peres helped launch seven new cloud professional services, including a Cloud-Consumption-as-a-Service opportunity, a cloud onboarding solution and cloud threat defense service. He also was instrumental in creating a new OpenStack-based managed services bundle to help jump-start the channel's ability to make money selling private cloud and hybrid IT solutions available for all certified partners.

Cisco also recently updated a revamped version of its Cloud and Managed Services Program. CMSP 2.0 adds Cisco Intercloud to the mix with new roles geared toward cloud providers. It also gives partners more choices of Cisco cloud architectures, new hybrid IT opportunities around Intercloud technologies like Intercloud Fabric and ACI, and a new Cisco Powered Virtual Managed Services category.