Cisco makes channel changes as it tries to reinvent itself

Sources inside Cisco's Worldwide Partner Organization have told CDN that the networking giant will be simplifying its go-to-market sales approach in an attempt to speed up decision making.
One of the biggest changes is that the company will drop from eight regional geographies to just three: Americas, EMEA and AsiaPac. For the Canadian market this means the U.S./Canada region is no longer. Cisco's Latin American region will merger into U.S./Canada and be lead by Chuck Robbins, who held the position a few years ago. Jim Sherriff will be Americas channel chief.


The source also said that Cisco's multi-segmented go-to market areas will be dramatically decreased to just two in an attempt to be broader. Going forward Cisco will have only two sales models: Partner Led and Customer Led.
Amidst huge layoffs Cisco's Worldwide Partner Organization will only see one change. Keith Goodwin will still be in charge of the entire organization, Edison Peres remains Channel Chief, Wendy Bahr is still the Global Transformation Officer, Scott Brown will continue to handle distribution and Donna Wittmann stays as Canadian channel chief. Karl Meulema, senior VP of global strategy and operations is retiring. He will be replaced by Cisco veteran Bob Singleton, who hails from Toronto.

The plan going forward will be for Cisco to go deep with a set of channel partners that can accelerate business in commercial, public sector and service provider, where the company does not have a high touch in currently, according to the source.

The source added that the channel should look for more incentives from Cisco to get these markets in motion. The source continued by saying that these changes will have an immediate impact and to expect results in about 30 days.

Cisco SMB lead Andrew Sage is being promoted to the Worldwide Partner Organization to run the Partner Led go-to market segment. He will now report to Goodwin. Sage, who is also from Toronto, has done a bang up job in growing Cisco's SMB market presence and sales in the last two years.

For those who were wondering if Luanne Tierney’s job was ever going to get filled; worry not as the source told CDN that Amanda Jobbins, a field marketing executive based in London, U.K. will now be in charge of channel marketing. Changes are also occurring in this area as Cisco has merged channel marketing with corporate marketing under Blair Christie. The source said that this move will ensure that the channel will get more channel marketing resources.

All these changes may look on the surface as cost cutting measures from Cisco but the source intimated that the concept of the changes was part of Cisco reinventing itself. A stated goal of the company is to become an $80 billion powerhouse in computing. It currently sits at $48 billion. The source added that Cisco is taking a step back and looking to focus on a few key areas.
It wasn’t that long ago when Cisco CEO John Chambers talked about addressing 30 market adjacencies. Now it will be just five:

1. Core routing, switching and services;

2. Collaboration;

3. Data center with virtualization and the cloud;

4. Video; and

5. Architectures for business transformation.

Channel partners have told Cisco that they are in way too many things and that it was making it hard to do business with them.
The source also addressed Microsoft’s intention to take away as many Cisco channel partners as possible. The source said that worldwide partner organization is well aware of Microsoft’s plans and that they are prepared for it. This will not stop Cisco from collaborating with Microsoft now and in the future, but it has been made clear to the channel team at Cisco its value proposition has to increase and they will in the end let the customer choose.


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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