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Cisco Services Vows to Mitigate Channel Conflict

Joe Cozzolino
Joe Cozzolino
Wendy Bahr,

Cisco Services, the networking giant's professional services arm, has vowed to update its partner engagement policy (PEP) within the next few weeks to mitigate potential channel conflict.

And yes, there have been conflicts. During ChannelE2E meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, multiple Cisco Partner Summit 2016 attendees said Cisco's services arm has gradually extended its reach -- occasionally competing with partner engagements.

During a keynote moments ago, Channel Chief Wendy Bahr conceded that conflicts may occasionally pop up, but she assured partners that new rules of engagement are on the way. The new PEP "should help to reduce friction and conflict in the field," Bahr said.

Enter Joe Cozzolino, senior VP of Cisco Services. Over the past two fiscal years, Cisco's services revenues have grown 19 percent through the channel, he said. The expansion opportunities for partners include professional services. Moreover, the company is expanding its security, data center and collaboration optimization services.  More than 80 percent of the existing optimization services flow through the channel. "There will be more things in the bag to sell," he said.

In terms of rules of engagement, Cozzolino conceded that the company made a misstep a few years ago -- when an 'Advanced Services Everywhere' mantra briefly emerged in the company.

"You will never see that again," he vowed. "My goal is not to be a systems integrator or a large MSP. We'll have a professional services business but we're not going everywhere with this. We're updating our Partner Engagement Policy -- a rule of engagement for our internal sales force. So that everyone knows what those engagements are."

The PEP will offer transparency, clarity and governance in terms of how Cisco Services works in the field.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.