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Cisco Channel Might Focus on Strategy Changes as ‘Legend’ Bahr Departs

Strategy

… certification, specialization, enablement and rewards.

And they devised programs to help partners of every size, focus and strength make money from selling Cisco goods and services. Among those who perhaps made the greatest gains in this area was former senior vice president Keith Goodwin. Under Goodwin, Cisco became more predictable and consistent than before.

Rising Through the Channel Ranks

Bahr lived through all of that, spending her first decade at Cisco as SVP of channels covering the U.S. and Canada, according to her LinkedIn profile. In 2010, she took on a global role as SVP of Cisco’s Transformational Partner Organization, where she helped create partnerships with a newly created value-exchange model developed to serve both the company and its partners.

Two years later, Cisco tapped her as SVP of the company’s Americas partner organization, where she oversaw 700 employees and more than 23,000 partners. Three years ago, Bahr was promoted to lead Cisco’s Global Partner Organization.

Whoever takes over, has one of the most challenging jobs in the industry. Cisco, which along with Microsoft, boasts one of the largest and most active partner bases in the industry, pioneered or advanced many of the popular conventions that have become staples in almost all great programs today. These include:

  • The shift from “volume-based” programs to “value-based” programs.
  • Advanced certification training that was tied to partner program status.
  • After-market incentives and rewards given to partners that met specific targets.
  • Deal registration.
  • Coordinated regional sales plans combined with quarterly partner sales reviews.
  • Company-support training academies situated throughout the world.

Cisco’s Robbins tweeted the news late Friday. “Special thanks to @wybahr for all of your great contributions to @Cisco. We will miss you but we wish you the best in all you do and we will always value our friendship!”

Yet until Cisco names Bahr’s replacement, some partners will be on edge, at least to some extent.

“I’m excited about the possibility of change,” Clancy said. “But of course, cautious that any new channel lead is going to look for a way to eke out a couple of extra points that will inevitably come out of the partners’ end.”

Channel Futures/Channel Partners staff contributed to this report.

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