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Cisco’s Oliver Tuszik On Partner Profitability, COVID-19, And How XaaS Push Is ‘Partner-Led’

’Whenever massive changes are around us -- and we’ve learned this during COVID – we’ve never been closer with our partners. When the going gets tough, we stick even closer together,’ Cisco Channel Chief Oliver Tuszik tells CRN.

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As Told By Tuszik

Cisco Systems has spent the last several months making big moves. The tech giant is in the midst of transitioning the majority of its portfolio to an as-a-service model and to go along with the changes it’s seeing in IT consumption and customer requirements, Cisco’s partner organization is making some of the biggest changes its made in more than a decade to its partner program and its tools.

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco announced it was dropping the number of partner programs from upwards of 12 disparate programs to one unified program for Cisco partners of all kinds. At the same time, the company is also on a mission to greatly reduce the number of tools and separate platforms that partners have to access in order to work with Cisco – boiling it all the way down from 166 disparate tools to a single, unified platform over time.

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted sweeping changes across many industries around the globe, and Cisco, with the help of its partners, jumped in to help businesses stay up and running with the IT resources they needed, said Oliver Tuszik, senior vice president of Cisco’s Global Partner Organization. While partners may have had some time on their side to make the pivot toward software and managed services last year at this time, the clock has now run out, Tuszik said.

Cisco Channel Chief Tuszik sat down with CRN at the Cisco Partner Summit 2020 Digital event this month to talk about everything as a service, or XaaS, the battle against channel conflict and partner profitability associated with the selling motion, the impact of COVID-19, and what partners can expect to see from Cisco heading into 2021.

Here’s what Tuszik had to say.

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