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Cisco to focus on the line of business with channel

Bruce Klein the former leader of Cisco's Worldwide Partner Organization

Cisco Systems worldwide channel chief Bruce Klein told CDN that he wants to get on the same page with partners during a mid-year conference call.

Klein, who took over from Keith Goodwin in the summer of 2012, is encouraging Cisco’s partner network to show customers how to enable new business outcomes even outside of IT. He said that budgets are moving to the line of business decision maker and the channel needs to learn how to become more relevant to these new sets of customers.

The good news from a channel perspective is the Klein is convinced the current set of solution providers in Cisco’s network have the capability to make this market transition to the line of business. Approximately 76 per cent of Cisco partners have registered for training on the line of business, he said.

To help push the channel along to the line of business opportunity, Cisco has created an ISV program and has been recruiting independent software vendors since the end of Partner Summit in April specifically in vertical industries such as healthcare, manufacturing and education.

Currently Cisco has approximately 100 ISV signed up to the program across three regions. Some of them are high provide software vendors such as SAP, Microsoft, Citrix and Red Hat. Canadian channel chief David De Abreu said there is very good uptick in the country and he plans to help solution providers leverage the SAP and Red Hat partnerships and it could provide more opportunities and margins for the channel.

Big data is playing a big part in this new direction for Cisco.

“The other big thing is big data and we have the top three Hadoop players with Cloudera, Hortonworks, and Pivotal Software. We are doing join sales calls with them along with events to help build a pipeline for partners,” Klein said.

Klein added that big data is a huge opportunity and something the channel should invest in. For example, one of Cisco’s top solution provider partners World Wide Technology Inc. of St. Louis, Mo., have started to hire data scientist and have been able to craft the right professional services around big data.

ISVs are not the only type of partner the networking giant is interested in attracting. Klein told CDN that with the Internet of Everything trend the company is working to recruit new channel partners with expertise in public sector, transportation and connected energy.

“I’ve seen bigger partners investing in a new practice with the Internet of Everything and it’s starting to take off,” he said.

One example of this is with Dundee Precious Metals of Toronto. Dundee, which has operations in Bulgaria, Namibia and Armenia, are investing in new technology and sensor technology. In the Bulgaria mine, Dundee extracts gold, copper and silver and they were able to increase production, while reducing costs through a Cisco Remote Expert solution that using Telepresence. Dundee is now able to connect with experts remotely via video collaboration to solve technical issues inside mines.

Klein added that Dundee can also track products and assets such as heavy duty equipment with location sensors that inform the company when it is breaking down. “Dundee can now do preventative maintenance and channel partners can enable this kind of IT,” he said.

Dundee was able to save more than $200 million in communications costs, while improving production by 30 per cent.

Two quick hits before I go. Former Microsoft Canada national sales director for the education market Shann McGrail has a new job. She is the vice president of People & Potential for Devreve Inc. of Oakville, Ont. Devreve is a solution provider focus on the Microsoft stack as well as an apps developer.

Friend of CDN Fiaaz Walji is now the new vice president of sales for GuruCul Solutions. He was the former Canadian country manager and channel chief for WebSense.