Cisco Systems’ Global Partner Organisation has assumed responsibility for the company’s small-business customer segment, the networking giant told CRN US.
The reorganisation combines the small-business customer responsibility with Cisco’s largest route to market, the Global Partner Organisation, Andrew Sage, vice president of global distribution sales for Cisco, told CRN US. Sage was tasked with leading the restructure by Cisco Channel Chief Oliver Tuszik.
“It’s a really important move and a really smart idea,” Sage said. “I think it’s a match made in heaven, to be honest.”
Cisco’s small-business customer segment is a 100 percent partner business, especially as these customers gravitate toward managed services and Everything as a Service, Sage said.
“Small businesses are stampeding toward these models because they are getting technology they couldn’t get before because it was too complicated. Now, they can fire up a SaaS application in 10 minutes and they need a platform to make that successful,” he said.
Small business is already a multibillion-dollar business for Cisco, he added. “We think that we can really crank it up by bringing it a little closer to the to the partner engine.”
Sage will be working alongside Luxy Thuraisingam, Cisco’s head of global partner marketing, to push more demand generation and marketing resources to partners targeting SMB sales. Cisco’s leadership believes that moving the small-business segment, which used to sit in the company’s Global Customer Organisation, from a pure sales function into a channel sales function would be more effective since these customers are already coming to Cisco by way of their trusted advisers.
“I think there’s tremendous alignment there,” said Eric Bostick, CTO of NWN Carousel, a longtime Cisco Gold partner.
Cisco in 2019 unveiled Cisco Designed for Business, a portfolio for SMBs that includes products such as Meraki and Webex. Cisco Chair and CEO Chuck Robbins told CRN US at the time that the company’s approach to the SMB market was different than its previous efforts because Cisco wouldn’t be retrofitting its existing offerings for SMBs.
“We used to joke that we had an enterprise ‘mini-me’ strategy. We would take enterprise products and paint them a different color,” Robbins told CRN US in 2019. “We have a huge opportunity for share [in the SMB space] and we are going to need to drive our programs very effectively with our partners,” he said at the time.
Sage said the move will benefit the company’s partners.
“We think the move is going to be great for partners because we’re going to make sure we’re driving the right programs, the right enablement, the right incentives to make this business even more profitable than it already is,” Sage said.