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Cisco Partner Summit 2019 Preview: Oliver Tuszik Wants Partners To ‘Own Their Edge’

“Just to be very clear, our products are not self-selling, not sell-installing, and not self-value creating. … Without a partner who creates something unique on top, the value won't come out,” Cisco Channel leader Oliver Tuszik told CRN in an exclusive interview.

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What has been the most surprising thing you learned between last year's Partner Summit and the upcoming one?

If there's one thing, it's confirmation that we clearly see huge support of our overall strategy. We see that our partners bet on us, and they want to understand their role and how they can be part of this journey, but they are also articulating very clearly that they have their own capabilities that we don’t have. Keep in mind, a lot of our partners were selling software before even Cisco found out there was something we could call software and sell. Those partners that understood didn’t call it "lifecycle," but they have been aware there is a life after the product has been sold. [These partners] are doing managed services in different ways: some do big outsourcing projects, some do design and implementation. There's a lot of capabilities and we need to ensure that we, in our approach -- which is different to all the other ones before -- are moving an entire portfolio, including hardware, software, and services, into a lifecycle motion. We want to embed the lifecycle idea into all our products. We will show [partners] how to use data to improve the speed of installation and adoption and show them how to get higher value out of use cases. This is the big change we are driving.

I'm also realizing that Cisco went through a lot of big changes. We brought VoIP into the market, we surprisingly disturbed the entire enterprise server market when we came up with UCS, and the last big thing was our intent-based networking [strategy]. But now, it's more than a tech evolution. We are changing with our partners the way we sell, what we sell, and to whom we sell, which is a big transformation we jointly need to follow. It's not happening over the weekend, but it’s a transformation we are leading to adapt to the change in demand and the way customers want to buy IT.

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