After 90 days in her new channel leadership role at Cisco, Wendy Bahr has an ambitious agenda for 2013 centered on gaining efficiencies, aligning resources and exploring new opportunities.
Bahr became senior vice president for the Cisco Americas Partner Organization July 30, returning to a similar role she held for more than 10 years as senior vice president of channels for the United States and Canada. She took a break from channels to work for two years on strategic partnerships as senior vice president of Global and Strategic Partners. While her new job is familiar to her, Bahr told Channel Partners it adds new challenges – not the least of which is responsibility for Latin America as well.
"While the responsibility for the partners in the U.S. and Canada is similar, the addition of Latin America is making it quite different. There are 44 countries in Latin America [each with] hugely different economies, political landscapes and opportunity sets," she explained.
But that's not all that's different for Bahr the second time around; technology and business models have changed as well.
"When I left two years ago, cloud was a rumor on the horizon and now it is a definite force in terms of as a service, managed services, hosted cloud, private clouds – all of that has had a fairly dramatic impact on our partners and their business models and the opportunity set they see," she said, noting the new opportunity for smart solutions integrating Cisco technology with that of strategic partners like Citrix, NetApp and EMC.
In her short tenure in her new post, Bahr has visited Brazil to meet with the Latin American partners and Arizona to meet with U.S. and Canadian partners.
Bahr's goals for fiscal year 2013 center on three pillars:
- The first is a continuing goal to achieve 1 percent opex savings for partners by taking inefficiencies out of processes and procedures, such as streamlining audits for specializations and certifications. "This actually was started by my predecessor, but frankly it's been such an important element to our partners, I felt it was important to continue," Bahr said.
- The second is aligning resources around three priorities: generating demand for cloud offers partners have built; accelerating growth, particularly in emerging countries like Brazil and Mexico; and emphasizing go-to-market around Partner-Led, including Partner Plus for midmarket customers.
- The third is to continue to work with worldwide and Americas channel teams to support partners through new market opportunities, new business models and new solutions.
Bahr's new role is part of an executive shuffle at Cisco in the past few months. Bahr replaced Jim Sherriff, who has taken a new role in Cisco's Worldwide Sales Operations team. Bruce Klein took the post of senior vice president of Cisco’s Worldwide Partner Organization, vacated Aug. 1 by the retiring channel chief Keith Goodwin. Both Klein and Bahr report into Chuck Robbins, who leads the company's worldwide sales and partner organizations as senior vice president of worldwide field operations. Edison Peres is continuing as senior vice president of worldwide channels, but now reports to Klein. Bahr said she – and her counterparts in EMEA/R and Asia Pacific regions – work closely with Klein and Peres.