Cisco Execs: ‘We’ve Invested $100 Million In Our Partners Around Security’
‘We’ve invested an incremental $100 million in our partners around security in the second half [of Fiscal Year 2023] alone. We are focused on our partner profitability, and we are continuing to innovate and drive programs that drive increased profitability on the front end [and] back end, as well as life-cycle incentives. Major, major changes are occurring here,” says Cisco Security Director Shawn Yuskaitis.
On its path to unifying its cybersecurity portfolio and boosting its market share in the security space, Cisco Systems is simplifying its go to market and investing heavily in partners, according to the tech giant’s security executives.
“We’ve invested an incremental $100 million in our partners around security in the second half [of Fiscal Year 2023] alone,” said Shawn Yuskaitis, security director, global partner and routes to market for Cisco. “We are focused on our partner profitability, and we are continuing to innovate and drive programs that drive increased profitability on the front end [and] back end, as well as life-cycle incentives. Major, major changes are occurring here.”
Cisco’s security sales teams aren’t just focused on “landing” sales. The San Jose, Calif.-based company is prioritizing a focus on life cycle, usage and adoption, Yuskaitis said. Cisco is also reducing complexity by dramatically simplifying how security is delivered and consumed, he added.
“We’re continuing to make sure that our partners have the ability to meet their customers where they want to buy, whether that be through managed [services] or public cloud marketplaces, [and] we’re making sure they have simplified pricing and programs that support velocity and scale. The impact is definitely being felt,” Yuskaitis said.
Solution provider giant and longtime Cisco partner SHI International is seeing increased priority around investment and collaboration with partners, said Ryan Sheehan, senior vice of advanced solutions for Somerset, N.J.-based SHI.
“[Cisco has been] very concerned with profitability as we continue to build the practice out. Everything’s complex [and] ongoing; it’s not once a year you build. It’s an ongoing partnership where we work together to understand what our customers need and where we need help, whether that be profitability, enablement, readiness, etc.,” Sheehan said.
Yuskaitis said that he and his team are working to simplify the buying experience for partners and end customers. “We oftentimes hear how complex it can be to transact and do business. We have made major investments here to help really drive the ease of transaction, we’ve implemented white-glove support, we’ve improved our tools, [and] we are investing in training to make sure that the latest and greatest content is out there to align to the business needs of our customers,” he said.
To that end, Cisco is simplifying its go to market through a reduction in its sales teams internally. The company has consolidated its 12 security sales teams, which were broken up by product set, to three teams located in different geographies and a SaaS team, said Emma Carpenter, global security sales leader for Cisco.
“We’re going to keep going with that simplification,” she said. “Bringing the teams together is making Cisco’s security message more consistent. … We don’t want to be talking about an individual point solution anymore.”
Security Growth Areas For Partners
Cisco is highlighting three areas of growth for partners: Secure and Grow the Base, Secure the Platform and Secure the SOC (Security Operations Center).
The Secure and Grow the Base opportunity includes partner offers around firewall upgrades and the refresh sales motion. For Secure the Platform, partner offers include Connect and Protect, a marketing campaign that taps into Cisco’s legacy in the networking space and One Year On Us, which includes Cisco’s entire SaaS portfolio, a partner-led sales motion that focused on helping solution providers scale, Yuskaitis said.
Partner offers for Secure the SOC will be unveiled during the company’s Fiscal Year 2024, which begins in August.
“We’ve done a lot around incentives to really make sure that our partners are feeling the profitability where it matters,” he said. “From an enablement standpoint, we were making sure that everything is up to date, current, and the partners have the skills and the capabilities they need in order to drive the business successfully in the market.”
Cisco is also simplifying how partners will be able to achieve specializations, Yuskaitis said.
“It’s a very exciting time and you can tell that we have a tremendous amount of passion, but we’re not stopping for a moment,” he said. “[We’re] helping our customers and our partners be able to bring all these bits together to really understand the power of Cisco.”