Channel Chat: Cisco channel chief Wendy Bahr talks technology, transition and the economy

Cisco channel chief Wendy Bahr addresses Cisco's move into servers, the infamous Infracomm suit, the economy and helping partners through a tough transition.

Cisco Systems' channel program has been hailed as one of the most innovative and also the most heavy-handed. Cisco completely changed the channel business almost a decade ago by offering incentives based upon partner investment rather than simply on moving product. And because of that, the channel has grown both mammoth and diverse.

Still, while some partners are downright Cisco zealots, others say the company pushes a Cisco-only networking portfolio and is punishing when partners don't fall in line. Now that Cisco is moving further into data center and storage, these partners are being asked to follow along -- despite their existing partnerships with other vendors, like Hewlett-Packard. Solution providers are concerned about what that will mean for their very business models.

In this edition of Channel Chat, Cisco North American channels chief Wendy Bahr -- who was recently promoted to senior vice president of U.S. and Canada channels -- talks about preparing partners to make these transitions while handling their existing relationships with other vendors. Bahr also explains Cisco's initiative to help partners survive in a tough macroeconomic climate, and she addresses the infamous Infracomm lawsuit.

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