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Cisco's Klein on partner progress and feedback

In another six months, on April 27-30, the Cisco Partner Summit 2015 will kick off in Montreal. However, what’s important for partners is what happens between one global Summit and the next.

Back in March at Cisco Partner Summit 2014 in Las Vegas, the vendor laid out its next-generation partner program, which has evolved to address the Internet of Everything (IoE). SearchITChannel recently chatted with Cisco’s global channel chief, Bruce Klein, who provided a progress update on partners’ response to the company’s efforts.

From the get-go, Klein noted that to give customers what they want, Cisco must deliver differentiated applications. That means partnering with big software companies such as SAP, Microsoft, Citrix and Red Hat, but also recruiting vertical ISV partners that are relevant to the company’s various sales regions.

In the Americas region, for example, he said, the vertical focus is on healthcare, education, manufacturing, big data and financial services.

“We’ve been on a journey to make sure that we have the capability built into the partner ecosystem so we can deliver the outcomes that customers are asking for, to become more relevant, and to drive innovation from the customer perspective with our partners,” Klein said.

The channel chief also noted that since the introduction of the Solution Partner Program at Cisco Partner Summit, about 800 partners have signed up, ratcheting up the number of compatible solutions in Cisco’s marketplace to 1,700.

“This marketplace is being used by our current partners to see what solutions are out there and to develop relationships with particular players,” he said.

Klein also said that since this year’s Summit, partners across the board are moving toward hybrid cloud and that most partners have a strategy to put cloud services into their business portfolio — which means becoming a reseller, provider or builder. He pointed out that since the Summit, the number of participants in the cloud reseller business grew by 450% and that there are currently 1,200 cloud builders.

Cisco’s Klein elaborates more on the company’s progress in a blog post today.

As the company heads to Cisco Partner Summit 2015, Klein said that his two biggest challenges are quickening the pace of evolving partners around creating a more vertical practice and embracing applications and software to figure out how to work with the big ISVs of the world, as well as working with partners on talent and enablement.

When it comes to talent, Klein said that the focus isn’t solely on finding new talent that’s grown up in the world of new consumption models and is comfortable selling to customers’ line-of-business managers. The company also wants to develop existing talent, he said.

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