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Cisco has added more color to its plans to evolve its worldwide partners organization by naming four key pillars and strategic initiatives to help get the organization from where it is today to where the company envisions it in three to five years.

Keith Goodwin, senior vice president of the Worldwide Partner Organization for Cisco told briefed Channel Insider on those pillars this week, saying that they would include helping traditional resale channel partners evolve their business models to take advantage of some of the opportunities posed by the changes ahead.

Here’s a look at what Goodwin said about the pillars, Cisco’s strategic initiatives around them and who would lead the efforts.

Continuing to Innovate in the Industry-Leading Channel Model.

Led by Edison Peres

Goodwin said “this is not about walking away from our existing resale partners and existing channel programs…But we need to take it to the next level, invest, and continue to innovate, especially around things like the cloud.

“It’s about really enabling our partners around the cloud not just from a technology perspective but working with them to understand what kinds of business models will be required to be successful in this new world of services and the new consumption models associated with that.

Building New Partnerships.
Led by Wendy Barr

Goodwin said: “We need to build new and transformative partnerships that embrace partners and coalitions of partners to really address these new opportunities. A great example of that is in the data center. As we moved into the data center and articulated a vision for the data center of the future it was critical that we built partnerships that we haven’t had in the past.”

For instance, Goodwin said, this encompasses embracing ISVs and forming new types of relationships such as Cisco did with the VCE coalition that Cisco established with EMC and VMware.

Acceleration of Cisco’s Success with SMBs through a new Midmarket Push.

Led by Dave O’Callaghan

Goodwin said: “Two years ago we launched an initiative with Andrew Sage to create a set of plays focused on the small business segment with a consistent go-to-market field structure with sales and marketing all working together on a global basis to go after that space. We’ve proved that model really works so we’ve moved it to the midmarket.

Scaling and Optimizing Cisco’s Partner Support Infrastructure
Led by Jim Sherriff

Goodwin said: It’s about being easier to do business with and simplifying everything we do. It’s about being faster in everything we do and being more globally consistent.”

The Big Plan

The introduction of these four pillars are only Cisco’s most recent moves to evolve its partner program for the changes on the horizon. Cisco’s first move was to merge its channels organization with its strategic alliance organization in February 2010, creating the Worldwide Partner Organization. In the months that followed, Cisco made leadership announcements about its new partner organization.

Goodwin framed the changes during Cisco’s Partner Summit in April. He said then that while the industry has gone through change over his 30 years in it, he’s never seen so many different changes at one time. They include cloud computing, video, collaboration and data center virtualization.

And for partners who are viewing all these changes to the industry with trepidation, Cisco is offering a hand.

“Our strategy is to define a path,” said Goodwin. “We want to create programs, training and program enablement to help partners go down that path. The rate that they go down that path is up to the partners.”