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Cisco Partner Summit Preview: ‘What A Channel-First Model Looks Like For Software’

Ahead of Cisco's Partner Summit, CRN speaks with Nirav Sheth (pictured left) and Vinay Nichani to talk software sales, the role of partners in Cisco's software and services pivot, and how the company is helping partners sell the entire life cycle.

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What can partners expect to hear at the 2019 Partner Summit?

Sheth: I think we have an opportunity to showcase to the rest of the industry what a channel-first model looks like for software, SaaS and subscriptions. The feedback I get from partners is with others they work with, [including] other partners or our competitors, most partners have had a lot of sensitivity around enterprise agreements and software from vendors that they feel disintermediates them, and what we are seeing is absolutely the opposite. We've continued to embrace our partners and reward them across the entire life cycle.

In our Q4, our channel penetration globally was in the upper 80s across product and services, and then double-clicking into things like enterprise agreements for SaaS offerings like Webex, our channel was even higher than that, which is a testament to how committed we are to the channel.

Cisco has been very declarative in the concept of customer experience and life cycle and we are doing that in lockstep with our partners. The partners that have been investing in customer experience and life cycle are growing bookings 2X to 2.5X faster than the rest. Their mix or recurring revenue is much higher, and their renewal rates are definitely higher. Most importantly for our partners, their profitability is much higher as well.

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