Cisco channel changes leaves a void
I applaud the move by Cisco to make Edison Peres the channel chief of the company. Peres is the author of the partner profitability strategy that vaulted the networking giant from channel also-rans to the top channel vendor in the industry. That strategy was developed more than nine years ago and Peres went out of his way to meet, face-to-face, with more than 40 company VPs to get their buy in. Partner profitability, while it sounds great, was quite progressive for its time. Cisco was really sticking its neck out because it called for a large investment to be made to channel partners. If you recall the time, the tech bubble burst, there was the 9-11 tragedy and the economy was in recession. Many other vendors decided to go a retreat. Cisco went against the grain, made a large financial and strategic bet on the channel and won.
The plan basically worked from the outset. It helped channel partners become more profitable and in turn ensured loyalty towards Cisco in the market place.
Today, Keith Goodwin, the head of Cisco's Worldwide Partner Organizations is shifted gears some what. He is asking Peres to spearhead another generational-type strategy. This will be a three-to-five year plan designed to do a few things: have channel partners become more innovative, invest in new channel models, build new global transformational partnerships, and place Cisco as a leader in SMB.
With that comes some personnel changes. You already know about Peres, but Wendy Bahr will leave her post as head of U.S. and Canada channel sales to take on the new role in the global transformational partnership area as its senior vice president. New to the channel team is Dave O'Callaghan. He will be the new vice president of worldwide commerical sales which will encompass the SMB growth goal. O'Callaghan was the VP of distribution.
What will these new moves mean for the Canadian operation? Will we see Canadian channel chief Donna Wittmann expand her role and add the U.S. duties to it? Wittmann may have a new boss, which will change the dynamics a bit in terms of the U.S./Canada relations. A Cisco Canada spokesperson emailed me that it will be the status quo for now.
More importantly how will the new direction, when firmed up, address the market place and the channel community in Canada?
For now, with Bahr moving on it does leave a void in the U.S. and Canada theatre that needs to be filled. My guess is that Cisco is looking for outside help or the position would have been filled before the announcement.
Three quick hits before I go. Strange move coming from Seagate. Seagate, a hard drive vendor based in Scotts Valley, Calif., has just informed me that they are now incorporated in Ireland instead of the Caymen Islands. This is the first time I've heard they were from the Caymen Islands and I have been covering them since 1989. I know this has everything to do with taxes, but seriously what a way to kick your employee's home town and on Independence Day. Of all the times to make this announcement they did it during the July the 4th holiday weekend. I wonder if they will use St. Patrick's Day to announce a future move to Costa Rica for a better break on taxes?
Kellie Stewart, an SMB advocate for Pivot Partner Services has joined Apple Canada.
More on Patrick Power at Acrodex. Power will be the new Practice Manager for the company's Advanced Network Solutions.

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