Four weeks into the job as Cisco Canada president, Nitin Kawale understands that he does not have to build the car; just drive it.
Cisco Canada has gone through nearly a decade of success in this country, paralleled only by Microsoft Canada as a subsidiary.
Under the watch of former president Terry Walsh, Cisco Canada tripled its business during the past five years. And, just this past month Cisco Canada jumped two spots to the No. 5 best performing Cisco subsidiary at the recently concluded Partner Summit in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Walsh is headed back to Australia, his home country and will remain with Cisco in a yet unnamed position.
While Kawale understands all he has to do is just run an already successful business, he comes to this position with a goal of his own. That goal is to innovate.
“We are extremely successful, but there is an environment of change happening in the market with Web 2.0 and the consumer driven enterprise. I want to establish in Canada a rich tradition of innovation and I want to accelerate that. We have a unique opportunity here with a quality team and I want to take innovation to the next level. As networks become more pervasive we have to build an environment for people to live, work and play and drive that,” he said.
Kawale’s first priority is to go on a cross country tour to visit customers, channel partners and employees. He believes this tour will help to drive his innovation goal. “You have to take care of all assets. On this tour I will try to listen to customers and partners and listen to employees and come back with a plan with the catch phrase being innovation,” he said.
His channel philosophy is that partners are the basis of Cisco’s success and execution in the market. Kawale’s channel strategy going forward will focus on enablement for existing partners and recruiting new partners in vertical markets especially in the growth field of oil and gas.
“We will look at partners who are specialized and as we evolve the vertical product strategy, the partners have to come with us and look creatively at it,” he said.
There will also be a recruitment drive for SMB partners, Kawale added.
To get this job, Kawale went through all the appropriate experience gathering positions at Cisco that involve leadership and global business. Most recently, he led Enterprise and Public Sector operations for Cisco Canada.
“I am grateful for the opportunity and I am energized by it. I look forward to taking Cisco Canada to the next level of growth. There is nothing like running you home country operation,” he said.
Kawale was also part of Cisco’s Global Mobile Vertical team, which included former worldwide channel chief Paul Mountford, who is the president of Cisco’s Emerging Markets business.
He called Mountford, one of the architects of Cisco’s partner profitability channel strategy along with Edison Peres, a “tremendous human being.”
Kawale said that what Mountford is doing is not just market penetration but country transformation. “Working with Paul was fantastic and a lot of fun. What Paul is doing working with government leaders on how to transform a country through technology,” he said.