Networking giant Cisco Systems has long been focused on enabling the cloud, but decided to step up its efforts to help its partners to deliver public cloud solutions. To that end, it tapped Ellen Berlan for a new role as Cloud Director — Americas. Along with her counterparts in Asia-Pacific and EMEA, Berlan is focused on accelerating public cloud opportunities for Cisco and its partners in the commercial market. That means looking beyond its growing base of services providers to also enabling an ecosystem of distribution, resale, integrator and ISV partners.
Berlan will deliver a keynote address on "Unleashing the Ecosystem Effect: The Channel's Opportunity in the Cloud" at Cloud Partners, a Channel Partners event, Sept. 11-13, in Chicago. Channel Partners interviewed Berlan to get a preview of her remarks.
What are your goals in your new role?
We want to accelerate existing [partners] and develop the next generation of cloud and managed services partners. We have an existing group of partners today that are selling cloud solutions. We want to look at how to build out that ecosystem. If you think about the XaaS partners today, predominantly they are service providers. As we go into our fiscal year, we want to think about how do we grow the reseller base, how do we grow distribution, how do we grow integrators, how do we expand that whole ecosystem of partners and help them develop a cohesive value prop around building out a cloud solution? So, [that means] helping them think about the profitability piece, the operational excellence component, building out the demand gen, building out services, creating SLAs around these services. So, it's a whole plethora of components that comprise this whole acceleration around cloud.
Where are the channel’s opportunities in the cloud?
It varies by partner type. Candidly that's what's so interesting about the cloud — there is no set pattern. When we first came out with our [partner] program it was cut and dried: providers, builders and resellers. Now you've got providers that are resellers, providers that are builders. You've got white-label partners that could be providers or resellers.
At its recent Partner Summit, Cisco channel executives promoted the concept of the Cloud Ecosystem Effect. Can you explain what that means?