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Cisco’s Most Profitable Partners All Have One Thing In Common

Cisco’s Nirav Sheth describes what partners are doing to embrace transformation across the company’s portfolio.

As Cisco continues its move toward software and services, executives say its most profitable partners have one thing in common: They’re sticking with customers beyond the initial deal.

“We have programmatic vehicles that incentivize our partners to do that, like Lifecycle Advisor,” said Nirav Sheth, vice president of partner solutions, architectures and engineering. “Certainly, partners who embrace that and invest in those capabilities are growing faster and are more profitable.”

Cisco’s push toward software and services is paying off: Recurring revenue was 32 percent of total revenue in the fourth quarter, an increase of about 1 percent year over year. Revenue from subscriptions now makes up 56 percent of the San Jose, Calif.-based company's total software revenue.

“What I would say is we have exciting change and transformation happening across the portfolio, so my ask of the partners would be to really change and embrace and understand the evolution across each facet of the business.”

At Cisco Live, the networking giant upgraded its network with more artificial intelligence and analytics, which partners say offers another opportunity to manage their customers’ portfolio for any issues.

“When you look at the AI and machine learning that’s put into the product, it helps us from a network operation perspective to make sure we are able to more clearly define where those opportunities exist as opposed to before, when it was a more manual process,” said Lee Waskevich, vice president of strategy, security and networking at ePlus, a Cisco Gold Certified Partner with Cisco Master Specializations in Security, Collaboration, Cloud Builder, and Cloud and Managed Services.

Cisco's focus on software and services is helping ePlus not only gain new customers but go deeper with its existing client base.

Watch CRN’s video for more coverage of our interviews with Cisco executives.

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