Cisco will increase practice development capabilities through the channel during the next 12 months, to better align partners to high-growth technology markets such as multi-cloud, data and security.
Specific to Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ), the tech giant aims to create new selling motions by expanding the local ecosystem of providers, while simultaneously revamping resale processes.
The channel change is centred around a desire to strengthen joint go-to-market strategies with partners, in addition to enhancing the customer lifecycle on both sides of the Tasman.
“It’s an exciting time for the partner community,” said Tara Ridley, director of partner organisation A/NZ at Cisco. “The value they can add across the life cycle of any technology offer is enormous.”
According to Ridley, customers today “want more from their IT providers”, driven by new-look buyers seeking to consume technology solutions in different ways.
“It’s the changing customer expectations that are forcing our partners to rethink their value and their business models entirely,” Ridley added. “Digitisation as well as the customer and employee experience is critical.
“Building a customer lifecycle practice is now the number one challenge our partners are facing. When you couple this with the buyer and decision maker being more informed and moving closer to the line of business, our partners are having to reinvent customer relationships.”
In referencing a “multi-cloud world”, Ridley said the onus is now on the entire supply chain - spanning vendors, distributors and partners - to “reinvent the network”, leveraging the power of data in the process.
“But also secure it to create meaningful experiences,” Ridley explained. “Cyber security is no longer an IT discussion, it’s at the boardroom level.
“The trust and brand reputation associated with cyber security and a business goes hand in hand. Security is foundational to everything we do, from the cloud to the endpoint to the network.
“We need a security architecture that can bring together threat intelligence from all around the network, and the network must to provide a layer of security that hasn’t existed before.”
Specific to technology, Ridley said increased customer choice from a multi-cloud perspective is redefining how partners go-to-market, irrespective of on-premises, hybrid or public cloud environments.
“We will not just embrace and enable the complexity of multi-cloud world, but we will power it and secure it,” Ridley said. “The network must play a more critical role in managing and deploying policy across IT environments.
“Cisco is building on its partnerships with key cloud players such as Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.”
In looking ahead, Ridley said partner value can be found in the lucrative markets of security and data, two key areas the channel “would not normally associate Cisco with”.
“Our business has transformed and evolved, and our partners are having to up-skill their teams to embrace the new normal that really drives our customers on the path of digitisation,” Ridley added.
“The market is changing at rapid speed and there are some amazing opportunities in front of us - including how we demonstrate to our customers our capability to deliver the secure intelligent platform for digital business.”
As a result, Ridley said partners capable of helping customers understand how technology can transform their customers’ experience, will succeed in an increasingly competitive market.
“In our region, we’re beginning to see partners that are more solutions driven rather than technology driven,” Ridley said.
“These partners understand that there is no one size fits all approach and that by focusing on business outcomes for the customer, instead of the technology, they’re creating a form of customer intimacy with the partner.
“We’re continuing to listen to our partners and innovate our portfolio. We also intend to remove the complexity and keep things simple for IT and line of business. Program simplification and ease of doing business continue to be key tenants of our partner program evolution.”