Cisco partner summit: Networking giant plots course through economic storm

Cisco partner summit: Networking giant plots course through economic storm

Cisco dismisses macroeconomic concerns

HONOLULU: Cisco channel chief, Keith Goodwin, has dismissed macroeconomic concerns at the networking giant's annual Partner Summit in Hawaii.

Not only would they play through them, he said, but they would power through them with four key areas of focus - the datacentre, software-as-a-service (SaaS), collaborative services and unified communications.

Goodwin predicted the datacentre would be a $US10 million hardware opportunity for the Cisco community in the next five years with $US4 billion in services up for grabs during that time. SaaS was already a $US75 billion market and growing rapidly, he said, and Cisco had been running commission-based pilots of its WebEx technology in recent months that would be rolled out globally in the next 2-3 quarters with annuity opportunities.

A new collaborative services model would open up new opportunities, Goodwin said, and the time was right for video to drive growth in unified communications.

Assessing the first half of its financial year, he said Cisco had seen 17 per cent growth in its channel business, with advanced technologies performing ahead of the curve at 26 per cent and now accounting for a quarter of all indirect revenue. The Value Incentive Program grew 31 per cent in the same period, with its Solution Incentive Program and Opportunity Incentive Program both up by 63 per cent.

Goodwin highlighted three areas of significant investment Cisco had been concentrating on - Partner Practice Builder (PPB), language localisation and talent. PPB helps partners to create a new practice in a specific area of technology such as datacentre or a particular industry solution. It can also be used to optimise the performance of an existing practice by benchmarking against other partners that have been successful in that area and assessing use of available resources.

He referred to talent as the number one growth inhibitor and said skills shortage was a common issue around the world.

Cisco has held talent forums and job fairs around the world while also launching a partner talent portal.

"The next generation is a partner talent network based on Web 2.0 technology where you can look for qualified talent that meets your needs," Goodwin said. "We are connecting that with, which receives 20,000 applications a month. Those applicants will now be able to enter into dialogue with our partners and this will really help us build that talent pool."

Brian Corrigan travelled to Hawaii as a guest of Cisco.

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