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Cisco Services gets update at partner summit

Cisco is changing up its professional services delivery, a move company executives said will give partners more selling options and lessen the potential for channel conflict.

The company’s Cisco Services organization provides a range of offerings, including optimization, advisory and support services. Cisco partners can sell those services to their end customers.

Joe Cozzolino was named senior vice president of services in June 2015 and has been restructuring the group since then. “There’s been a lot of work [and] lots of changes,” he told attendees at Cisco Partner Summit 2016.

Those changes include an updated roster of optimization services. To wit, Cisco has built upon its well-established network optimization services to now include security, data center and collaboration optimization services. That expansion puts more items “in the bag for everyone to sell,” Cozzolino said.

In another expansion, Cisco has increased the number of solution support SKUs offered via Cisco Services from 12 to 22.

But while Cisco adds services, it is has also decided what service businesses it doesn’t want to pursue. Cozzolino said a decision was made about a year ago to not participate in the business process consulting space and emphasize technical advisory services instead.

Overall, Cisco Services has modified its approach to professional services and will refrain from “going everywhere” with its services, Cozzolino added.

“My goal is not to be a systems integrator or a large managed service provider,” he said.

Instead, Cisco Services will focus on providing specialized capabilities around its architecture, while looking to scale through its channel partners.

And to keep everyone on the same partnering page, Cisco is in the process of updating its partner engagement policy for its sales force. Cisco officials suggested that’s a timely step, given the integration of Cisco service and product sales in the field.

“This is really to educate our sellers on those policies and give a clear governance path,” said Wendy Bahr, senior vice president of Cisco’s Global Partner Organization.

The revised partner engagement policy will be out by the end of November, Bahr said.