Cisco Canada Blog

My first 100 Days as Channel Chief

November 25, 2013

After 14 years at Cisco, I am very pleased after my first 100 days as Canadian Channel Chief to share my initial thoughts and strategies.

The partner landscape and care-abouts have evolved considerably, and in my time at Cisco I’ve enjoyed interacting with many of our partners immensely. I have relationships with many of them, and our partners know that if they need anything they can call me. But more importantly – and this was confirmed as I travelled across Canada this fall – I believe there is a mutual desire for success between Cisco and our partners. We want each other to succeed.

David De Abreu, Vice President, Channel and Solutions, Cisco Canada

David De Abreu, Vice President, Channel and Solutions, Cisco Canada

I’ve spent my first 100 days listening.  And before I share what I’ve learned, I’d like to share a story that has defined my time as Channel Chief thus far.

A few months ago I spent an afternoon with a group of small Canadian resellers who had little-to-no legacy with Cisco. They weren’t our biggest partners, or even our partners at all at one point, but one thing struck me about them. All of them – every one in the room of 20-plus – was excited about Cisco. They were excited about the potential and excited about being a part of the Cisco family. This is their passion, and they saw a huge potential to do more business with us.

Their enthusiasm stayed with me, as did their comments about the quality of our support and staff. But praise aside, there are real issues that our partners are dealing with right now.

You told me that you are looking at how to maintain or increase your profitability and increase your relevance in the value chain as customer consumption models evolve. You want it to be easier to do business with Cisco.

We have to become better at simplifying our partner programs and initiatives so that partners can drive revenue and protect their profits. We need to take our connected architectures like Security, Mobility, Virtualization/UCS and Collaboration and increase visibility of these through our partner programs. That’s on me to deliver, and my team and I are focused on how we can better integrate our architectures, solutions and verticals at Cisco to provide more opportunities for our partners.

How we integrate these solutions and align them to current and future consumption models to help our partners prepare for Cloud, Software Define Networking (SDN) and the Internet of Everything (IoE) is one of my priorities. The IoE is real, and it’s here, and we need to think about this from a solutions perspective to enable you to do more for your customers.

You’ve also made it clear that not all of you can or want to make the move to cloud-based services. But I see managed services as possibly the single-largest opportunity for our partners in Canada. Why? Because 90 per cent of the world’s data has been created in the last two years. How will Canadian businesses manage all their data? I see our industry as a pie, and our partners are looking to get their piece. But the hardware products pie isn’t getting any bigger. The solution is to look to a whole new pie – managed services.

To recap, based on my recent discussions with partners here are my five key areas of focus:

-Align to evolving Customer Centric Consumption Models and Partner Ecosystem

-Increase Customer and Partner relevance through Fully Integrated & Scalable Business Solutions

-Amplify Partner Profitability through Strategic Programmatic, Enablement and Incentive Management

-Intensify Mid Market Execution through Distribution transformation aligning to key routes to market

-Drive Optimization and Consistency of Execution through Simplification

We have some work to do, but we will do it together. We have always been a company committed to our partners, and we live and die by the success of our partner community.  It’s in our best interests to make your jobs easier, and we will. I want Canada to become a centre for best practices globally. I want to learn from what successful partners are doing in other countries and bring that here, to make our channel the best in the world.

For those of you who I have met, thank you for your time and input. For those of you I have not yet met with, I look forward to it. Watch for additional blog posts from me in the coming months, send me an email and leave a comment below.

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