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Cisco is hoping to build between $15 billion and $20 billion of new partner opportunities in the next three years and has outlined the areas where it believes partners should look for opportunities. 

Speaking at Cisco’s Partner Summit in Honolulu on April 9, Keith Goodwin, senior vice president of worldwide channels at Cisco, said the three areas for growth are the data center, services, and SAAS (software as a service) and WebEx.  Goodwin also identified unified communications and video as significant drivers of opportunity for the channel, alongside collaborative business models.

He announced the vendor is opening out a pilot that it has been running with selected partners and its WebEx platform to all of its VARs.  “This was previously commission-only based on year one revenues, but when we open this out in the next two to three quarters partners can also earn an annuity stream for the following years,” he said.  He said the strategy was unusual because SAAS has traditionally been a direct sales play.  

Cisco, which has 80 percent of its revenues through the channel, acquired WebEx, which was a direct sales company, in March 2007.  Cisco CEO John Chambers said the acquisition could turn out to be one of the top five acquisitions Cisco has ever made. “It applies to almost every aspect of our business,” he said. 

Tying in with Chambers’ keynote about the transitioning of business to the new wave of the Internet, Goodwin said the best way to prepare for the opportunity was to embrace the new collaborative Web 2.0 technologies.  “By using these technologies we can increase our own productivity and innovation, and it will give us the confidence, experience and knowledge to take these to market,” he said.

He said Cisco is also investing in partners to help them achieve this. He outlined the Partner Practice Builder, a tool for partners that allows them to benchmark themselves and ensure they are using the Cisco channel programs to maximum effect; the first such tool will be around its new data center technology.

Cisco is also developing products in more localized languages; over the past eight months the vendor has developed 150 offerings in 15 local languages.  Finally, Goodwin said Cisco is helping partners to attract, develop and retain talent through its new Partner Talent Network, where VARs can look for and connect with potential employees.



See these related stories also from the partner summit:

Chambers Tells VARs to Catch New Tech Wave

Cisco Unites VARs, ISVs over Integrated Apps

Cisco Portal to Help Partners Recruit Talent

Cisco Seeks Partner Growth

Cisco Plays Cupid for VARs

Analysts: Size Matters in Cisco Data Center Play

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Cisco Sets Sights on the Data Center

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