The economic uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing restrictions have brought Cisco and its partners closer together, according to Cisco ANZ director of partner organisation Luke Power.
Speaking to CRN for the first time since taking charge of Cisco's local channel, Power said customers were looking to Cisco channel partners more so now than ever and are placing more value around what is on offer, what differentiates them and what makes them niche.
He said the Webex collaboration suite in particular had become a new way to connect Cisco to its partners during the pandemic.
“Webex has broken the corporate barrier into people’s lives that has created an even closer partnership, and this has helped with our joint efforts,” Power told CRN.
“As a result we have been able to move even quicker with our partners to create COVID-19 response teams, solution offerings, and landing pages with our distributors that have been able to help our customers when they needed it the most.”
Power also cited an uptake in online initiatives like virtual training, webinars and podcasts.
“[The 2020 Cisco] Partner Summit was digital too, which meant we were able to extend the invitation to even more partners to join us this year,” he added.
Power also called the recently updated Cisco partner program the “most significant” change to the program in the past 10 years, where partners get rewarded not only during the initial sale but also after the sale.
“A lot of partners are building their customer lifecycle management teams and processes and programs in place, and they’re also wanting to talk to [Cisco] around managed services and how they go to market with customers,” he said.
“The great thing about the program is that it does reward partners who are looking to go down that path and looking at investing a lot into the customer post-sale.”