Cisco Channel Chief: 5 Routes To Partner Profitability Within Digital IT Transformations

'You've Never Been A More Important Strategic Asset'

Cisco Channel Chief Wendy Bahr spoke in front of 400 partners at Partner Connection Week in Miami on Tuesday about the five key routes to profitability for the channel in 2017.

"We have every single opportunity in front of us. It is going to require that we all change to capture the digital opportunity, but we have never been more committed to your success -- you've never been a more important strategic asset than in this moment in time," said Bahr. "Of course there's not going to be a one-size fits all model, we are going to have to adapt as well, but that's my commitment to you."

Bahr weighs-in on the five key routes to profitability that Cisco partners need to be chasing.

IT Service Provider

Bahr said partners that transform into an "IT-as-a-service provider" are capitalizing on a growing revenue opportunity.

"I'm not just talking about the big telcos – we love you guys – but we're talking about traditional managed service partners and even reseller partners who've realized that IT-as-a-service and that consumption model is critical to many of our customers," said Bahr.


Huge profitability is unlocked when channel partners form relationships with other Cisco ecosystem partners, according to Bahr, which also creates larger deals.

"We know with the digital opportunity there's also the opportunity to have a multi-partner relationship – whether you're working with a digital consultant, an ISV, whether you're working with someone who has a unique services advantage – this is one of our fastest growing routes to profitability," said Bahr.

IoT Designed-In

Leveraging Cisco's Internet of Things (IoT) portfolio to create business outcomes that target line-of-business buyers is a big profitability route for partners in 2017, said Bahr.

"It's taking the power of Cisco IoT capabilities and designing them into either a solution that you are manufacturing or that you can put together," said Bahr.

Cloud Marketplace

Bahr said the "newest" route to driving profitability is the ability to participate in new marketplaces, such as with public cloud providers.

"Whether that's a marketplace for one of our many distributions or a marketplace with a public cloud provider – we have cloud services routers, we have virtual ASA [firewalls], we have security that can participate in that marketplace in a public cloud, hybrid cloud environment," said Bahr.


With all the focus around delivering cloud-based solutions and networking services this year, Bahr wanted to make it clear that Cisco partners understand that there's still profitability and a key need for resale.

"Near and dear to our heart is the resale route, which will always be here," said Bahr. "It's a hugely important foundation of our relationship together."

Don't Have To Play In All Five

Bahr said partners don't need to necessarily apply all of these five routes to profitability into their practice.

"As the world's leading manufacturer of innovation, connectivity, and convergence, we are offering the most choice. We are providing the most support, and we are the most committed to your continued success in this crazy, fast, agile world of digital transformation and opportunity," said Bahr.