Last month, Cisco appointed Scott Brown as its vice president of worldwide distribution. A 15-year Cisco veteran, Brown succeeds Dave O’Callaghan, who was moved to vice president, worldwide commercial sales, where he is tasked with growing Cisco’s SMB and commercial business. PHONE+ interviewed Brown in early October about his strategy for managing Cisco’s relationship with its existing distributor partners, especially as cloud computing and SaaS continue to take hold in the channel.
PHONE+: Please discuss some of the main changes that you will bring to Cisco in your new position.
Scott Brown: Since I’ve only been on the job for two weeks it’s a little early to outline a detailed strategy. I do, however, have a series of initial objectives and priorities. My 90-day plan is to get out and meet with our global, regional and specialized distributors and listen to their priorities and feedback. I also plan to build on the strong relationships my predecessor Dave O’Callaghan established with our distribution partners. To accelerate growth with our distributors, I will focus on helping them develop plans to capture some key new market opportunities including, data center, collaboration, video, cloud and SMBs.
P+: How do you hope to penetrate Cisco's already-established partner network?
SB: In my previous positions in sales and sales operations, I worked closely with distribution partners and developed a deep understanding of the two-tier model. Now, as the head of worldwide distribution at Cisco, I intend to support our distributors through training, marketing, programs and helping them enable the delivery of architectural solutions.
P+: What are some of Cisco's partners currently asking for related to end-user demand?
SB: Our channel partners are looking to evolve their practices toward architectural capabilities to address customers’ requirements for holistic IT solutions. Cisco is helping our partners to build practices around growth areas such as data center/virtualization, collaboration and video, as well as borderless networks. Our channel partners are looking to bring the entire solution together for our customers by wrapping professional services around our technology.
P+: How do you plan to address new routes to market, including cloud computing and SaaS models?
SB: Cloud computing represents a major market transition, and Cisco is focused on leading and innovating to help our customers capture the multitude of opportunities and business benefits associated with cloud-based models. As a new operational model for the delivery and consumption of IT resources, cloud computing presents many opportunities for our channel partners. Our partners will play a significant role in providing the infrastructure and integration services needed to create new SaaS and cloud-based offerings. You will also see a number of partners using their depth and breadth of technical expertise to create their own cloud-based offerings for customers.