Aussie partners appraise Cisco's new announcements

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Aussie partners appraise Cisco's new announcements

The 2019 Cisco Partner Summit came out swinging with a number of announcements over the past week, including partner program changes and even some new hardware.

CRN spoke to a few Australian Cisco partners present at the conference to hear their thoughts on what Cisco has presented to the world and what it means for their businesses.

Cisco unveiled a number of offerings and partner incentives, including a new Cisco DevNet partner-level business specialisation, two new customer entitlements for enterprise agreements, performance incentives for SMB customer wins, a consolidated collaboration suite, and some new Webex and Meraki hardware.

Data#3, one of the vendor’s largest partners in Australia, is particularly keen for the collaboration and customer experience announcements. Chief marketing officer Garrett MacDonald told CRN the additions were “almost a logical next step” with what Cisco has already released to the market.

“Cisco has been transparent around their programs and there weren’t any particular surprises,” MacDonald said. “We do feel that [Cisco] thinks partner first with the CX and lifecycle strategies.”

RIoT Solutions’ Rob Merkwitza meanwhile took aim at Cisco’s new managed security service, which was announced just before the partner summit.

“There’s a gap in the market between customers that want to go SOC (security operations centre) and those that are doing nothing,” he said. “There’s a lot of push towards SOC but there are some customers that aren’t mature enough yet.

Merkwitza also said he hoped to hear more from Cisco on the internet of things (IoT) infrastructure side. “I know they’ve made a change in the area and Cisco made some big investments but we’d like to see more focus on the area for us.”

Jonathan Barouch of Sydney-based Local Measure said it was good to see Cisco double down on software development in the ecosystem, specifically the DevNet specialisation.

“The more that [Cisco] can encourage partners to send their developers to something like DevNet to upskill their teams, the product becomes more holistic and customers get better results,” he said.

“It’s also really important for some of the big partners and force the ones that are not as agile be a bit more agile and double down.”

Secure Agility CEO David Abouhaidar said Cisco reassuring its commitment to the channel stood out from the announcements.

“When some vendors are going the other way and doing a lot more business direct, Cisco’s enforcing that they’re doing a lot more of their business through the channel,” he said.
“Finding out that Cisco’s business is more than 90 percent done through the channel is reassuring for partners like us, especially those who have made a huge investment in Cisco.”

Arjun De, director of technology services of Sydney-headquartered Outcomex, echoed the same sentiments on Cisco committing to the channel.

He said some of the announcements that stood out include security and the multi-domain architecture, and just shows that Cisco has really been listening to their partners and customers.

“I think it’s fantastic that [Cisco] is bringing a lot more security on board into the products, and have done well to integrate all the different Cisco security products like Umbrella into their existing product lines.”

De also spoke on his experience as a CTO attending a more sales-centric summit, specifically getting a chance to talk to Cisco executives. “[Attending the summit] actually allowed us to have very different and interesting conversations, particularly with the one-on-ones with the executives.”

Nico Arboleda travelled to the Cisco Partner Summit at Las Vegas as a guest of Cisco.

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