Cisco Systems’ Wendy Bahr: Digital Transformation Arrives

Welcome to page 2 of 3, featuring ChannelE2E’s conversation with Cisco Channel Chief Wendy Bahr


ChannelE2E: You touched on multi-partner opportunities. How does life change for partners in the multi-partner environment?

Wendy Bahr

Wendy Bahr

Bahr: We’ve been providing a lot of enablement tools, especially around DevNet as an example. We’re making the connections within our ecosystem easier for partners. When you’re in a multi-partner environment the go-to-market motion changes. That’s a big deal and we’re teaching partners about those realities. We have to enable that, and you’ll hear me cover that at the conference.

But my three values remain unchanged. We need to simplify everything we do, align as tightly as we can, and evolve our value exchange. We’re providing value through this kind of multi-partner enablement. Whether it’s enabling the new go-to-market, whether it’s enabling the connections or enabling the ability to program into the applications. I really want to point out that we’re enabling and seeing higher degrees of profitability, higher customer satisfaction, more relevance, and more pull-through of the the traditional Cisco portfolio.

It’s been a journey and we’re still on that journey. But we want partners who haven’t engaged in these models yet to embrace what we’re providing.

ChannelE2E: You mentioned ISVs. Cisco has done considerable work with big data software companies like Hadoop providers. Are your partners waking up to those big data and analytics opportunities?

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Bahr: Absolutely. That’s how we got started. Those sticky ISV relationships allowed our partners to understand the value of these opportunities. We started with the big data ISVs. For two years in a row we ran workshops worldwide. We showed partners how they could more deeply penetrate their existing accounts with these new types of opportunities.

We’ve since expanded into companies like Purple WiFi, TurnStyle and we’ve been getting more into the vertical application ISVs. Big data started horizontal but we’re started more on verticals. Whether its healthcare, finance, manufacturing or retail there are big data opportunities and it requires multi-partner engagements. You’ll have an application provider that takes that big data  and does something with it in a vertical manner. It allows for differentiation, relevance and value.

Now, you have to have a secure, digitally ready network to deploy all that. But that’s not the start of the conversation. You lead with the outcome.

ChannelE2E: Let’s shift to CapEx vs. OpEx. How far do you think the pendulum is swinging from CapEx to OpEx — and how is Cisco performing in that journey? (ChannelE2E’s own bias: We don’t think everything will transform into a service.)

Bahr: Early in my career I sold PBXes and many of those were sold on leases. It was interesting for me to learn when and why customers wanted to acquire an asset and depreciate it vs. when they wanted to be on a monthly lease. It feels like deja vu sometimes.

I’m with you. I don’t think everything is going to go 100 percent to the cloud, and I don’t believe all on-premises gear will disappear. And I don’t believe everything will go from CapEx to OpEx. But I hear from customers and they want choice. They want flexibility. They want different consumption models. To do that, we’re really leveraging one of our best assets: Cisco Capital.

We have two programs that our customers and our partners, frankly, have been positive about. The first is the Cisco Capital Easy Pay financing model. We discussed that at the San Diego conference earlier this year. It’s a simplified purchasing of products included in our Digital Network Architecture. It’s a three-year, fair market value, zero percent lease. All the products within DNA are included in that. You pay 90 percent of the cost over three years. That gives customers predictable monthly payments. Some customers really want that cash flow management. At the end of three years they have an option: They can keep it, return it or refresh it. Or they can purchase the assets for 10 percent of the original price. For a customer who may not know how fast they’re going to grow, this is a great option.

We also introduced Cisco OpenPay. That’s a variable consumption financing model. That brings the scalability of cloud to the enterprise customers. Customers receive equipment with more capability than they need at the time of acquisition.But they pay for only what they use. This allows a business to address seasonal demands, for instance.

And we’ll continue to build out the Cisco Capital portfolio for our partners and customers.

Continue to Page 3 of 3 for: More clues about software, new partner roles and a call to action…

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