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Executive Address Greetings from our new Sales and Marketing leader

What has been happening in TD

Highlights from the Tech Data Sales Summit and Frank Haid’s retirement party


A roundup to be proud of


IBM Reseller Adventure Unforgettable cultural experiences


Microsoft foresees all-public cloud world

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Customer appreciation event

Microsoft World Partner Conference Cisco Stampede Cisco and Tech Data celebrate in Calgary

TechSelect Member Profile

We catch up with Microtrends Computer Systems Ltd.


Cisco to partners: Embrace hybrid delivery


Cisco Worldwide Partner Conference Voice of the Vendor Times Times speaks with Shannon Sbar from APC by Schneider Electric Editor Jillian Cahill Art Direction and Design Julie MacAulay Contributing Writers and Editors Irene Buchan, Jillian Cahill, Robert Dutt Project Manager Ralitsa Naydenova Tech Times is published and distributed six times per year to channel resellers across Canada. ©2013 Tech Data Canada Corporation. Prices, promotions, offers & terms and conditions of sale subject to change without notice. Errors and omissions excepted. All manufacturers’ names are registered trademarks of their respective corporations.

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This publication comes to you free from Tech Data Canada Corporation. We received your mailing address from your Tech Data customer account information. To make changes or to unsubscribe, please contact your Tech Data sales team at 800.668.5588 or notify us at

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A Fresh Perspective Though you’ve heard from me in this forum before, this is the first time I’m greeting you as Tech Data Canada’s new Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing. to understand our customers’ business models in order to ensure we’re providing the very best service we can. Naturally then, when Frank Haid decided to retire earlier this year, I was delighted when our President, Rick Reid, asked me to take on the newly created dual role of Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing. I have the utmost respect for Frank’s leadership of our Sales organization during his tenure here, and I’m eager to immerse myself in the world of Tech Data Sales. The Tech Data Sales team is the best in Canadian distribution, and I’m excited to begin working closely with the top-notch Sales leadership team that Frank had built up over his years here.

I joined Tech Data Canada in 1999 as Vice President of Marketing shortly after the Tech Data acquisition of Globelle Corporation. I was excited to join an organization as dynamic as Tech Data, and I was equally enthusiastic to take on a Marketing role. Up to that point, my career had been focused primarily on Sales opportunities, having spent years at both reseller partners and manufacturers, most notably as Vice President and General Manager of NEC Technologies. The Marketing role at Tech Data was an exciting new opportunity for me, as was distribution, and I was eager to take on a new challenge. Over the years I’ve learned a great many things about the world of marketing, purchasing and product management in the hectic and fast-paced world of IT distribution and I’m incredibly grateful for the insight this has provided me, as well as the many friendships I’ve gained along the way. The vendor community at Tech Data is unparalleled, and the Marketing team at Tech Data has made the last 14 years here both educational and fun-filled. I’d be lying, however, if I didn’t acknowledge that I’ve always had a desire to get back into the Sales side of the business. I’ve always loved interacting with customers and working

Tech Data Canada enjoys a unique position in our marketplace; we are redefining a new hybrid model of distributor that brings you a host of value-added services which complement our broad-based distribution heritage and strength. This unique offering makes us ideally suited to try new things, to challenge the status quo, and to see what else we can accomplish as your Distributor of Choice for the 6th consecutive year. Rick believes that by integrating our Sales and Marketing teams and efforts, we can improve the way we service both our vendor partners and reseller customers. I agree wholeheartedly and I’m excited to take on this new challenge. I look forward to meeting all of you. If you have any suggestions or questions for me, please email me directly at I’d love to hear from you! Sincerely,

Greg Myers Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing

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small to medium business Eaton has some Sizzling Summer Deals! Get 15% OFF Regular Pricings now until August 31, 2013! Protect your home/office/networking environments from power surges, brown out, and complete outages. Stormy summer weather is just around the corner! TD SKUs: 69138A, 69140A, 07373N, 336035 Call your Tech Data representative at 1-800-858-5566 today.

WorkFit-A with Suspended Keyboard, Dual This premium stand-up desk solution adds extra ergonomic benefits, allowing the keyboard tray to be positioned below desktop level for optimum computing comfort. A WorkFit height-adjustable workstation moves your keyboard and monitor in one simple motion— change from a sitting to a standing position whenever you want. TD SKU: 3154BW Ergotron SKU: 24-392-026 Call your Tech Data representative at 1-800-858-5566 today.

MANAGE AND PROTECT. ALL FROM ONE PLACE. With Kaspersky, now you can. Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business brings together anti-malware, data encryption, systems management, IT policy enforcement and mobile device management into a single platform. See. Control. And Protect your company data. Now you can. Be Ready for What’s next. Call your Tech Data representative at 1-800-858-5566 today.

McAfee Complete Endpoint Protection With Kaspersky, now you can. McAfee Complete Endpoint Protection – Business Security Suite: Best in class security, unparalleled speed, and simple, unified management. It protects all of your devices—including your data and applications—with a unique hardware enhanced approach and real-time management. Protect your customers and stop cyber-criminals and stealthy threats before they impact your business. Call your Tech Data representative at 1-800-858-5566 today.


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small to medium business ReadyNAS 2120 1U 4-Bay Diskless • • • • •

4-bay 1U unified (NAS/SAN) storage (16TB max. capacity. Consolidate backup and share files across Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android devices. Modern interface for easy cloud-based discovery and file management. VM-ready with iSCSI support and vSphere™/Hyper-V™ certification. Embedded and add-on applications for iTunes, DLNA, and streaming of music and movies to local or internet-connected devices, including smartphones and tablets.

TD SKU: 9772BC Call your Tech Data representative at 1-800-858-5566 today.

Sell Symantec between June 1 and October 15, 2013 and you could win Big, with OVER $30,000 to be won by TechSelect Members in North America! Eligibility for Canadian TechSelect Partners: • “Best Star in Blockbuster” Tier must have a minimum of $15,000 in orders in 2012 to qualify. • “Best New Series” Tier must have a minimum of $5,000 and maximum of $14,999 in orders in 2012 to qualify. • Resellers must have a minimum percentage growth of 20 percent year over year to qualify. • The winners will be based on total highest percentage growth within each tier. • Prizes awarded in the form of Credit on Account. • Managed Accounts are not eligible to win.


This summer, take your office outdoors with Toshiba’s WT310 Windows 8 Pro Tablet! This thin and light tablet features high performance full PC capabilities, touch screen and digitizer, full size ports, full 1080p, anti-fingerprint and anti-reflection display, and professional security features ideal for the on-the-go business user. TD SKU: 4911BX Call your Tech Data representative at 1-800-858-5566 today.

Total workload mobility and protection without limits The Double-Take Availability 7.0 Solution Suite allows you to meet high availability and disaster recovery requirements by safeguarding workloads across any combination of physical, virtual, and cloud-based resources, in real time. With agent-based and agentless protection options, hardware agnostic workload mobility, real-time protection for any combination of virtual, physical or cloud servers, and the ability to protect critical business functions operating 24x7, the new Double-Take Availability 7.0 provides total workload protection and mobility… and total peace of mind. Call your Tech Data representative at 1-800-858-5566 today.

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Tech Data’s long-standing Vice President of Sales, Frank Haid, retired earlier this summer. Frank is a well-known figure in the industry and was a beloved member of Tech Data Canada’s executive team, so we couldn’t let the occasion pass without some sort of fanfare to commemorate his contributions to Tech Data and the Canadian IT channel. On Wednesday July 3, employees and industry leaders gathered to wish Frank a fond farewell while reminiscing and sharing a few laughs. Happy retirement, Frank!


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The entire Tech Data Canada sales organization met at the Sheraton Centre downtown Toronto for their annual sales summit event. The weekend kicked off with a technology showcase featuring 30 vendor partners across all technologies. The sales representatives from across Canada had the opportunity to see and interact with several new and exciting vendor products that they can now sell to their reseller partners. It was also a great opportunity to catch up with vendor contacts they haven’t seen in a while and meet new ones. The teams began their official Amazing Race with the event’s premium vendor sponsors APC, Cisco, HP, IBM and Lenovo on Saturday following the executive kick off. They raced their way through Toronto searching for their next clue. Only one team could be the first to arrive at their final destination, while all others would be eliminated from the race. Stops included a challenge at Sin & Redemption Pub with APC, a pie eating contest at Wanda’s Pie in the Sky with Cisco, sidewalk chalk art at Grange Park with HP, a visual puzzle challenge at Nathan Philips Square with IBM and karaoke at Echo Karaoke Bar with Lenovo. The event closed off with the final dinner and awards gala. Thanks for racing everyone and thank you to our sponsoring vendor partners!

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Reseller partners felt like they had entered a Wild West Saloon at this year’s Customer Appreciation Party. Tech Data hosted approximately 1,300 cowboys and gals at the Guvernment Night Club in downtown Toronto on Thursday, July 4, who were all fixin’ to hear who this year’s secret band was. Our reseller partners had a bug-killin’ time as they shared some good food, bent an elbow or two and enjoyed some great music as Matt Mays took the stage. Together, $13,000 in donations were raised for the Sick Kids Foundation which brings our total raised over the years to over $240,000 Yeehaw! Now that’s a roundup to be proud of! Y’all be good now, and join us next year!

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HotSpot Tripp Lite’s Wall-Mount Racks Tripp Lite has the largest selection of Wall-Mount Rack Enclosure Cabinets in the industry! Wall-Mount Racks keep computers and networking equipment safe and off the floor when space is limited. Plus, our locking models ensure sensitive equipment is protected from damage or theft. TD SKU Tripp Lite SKU 41032V SRW6U 02364Z SRW9U 93003N SRW12US 31158W SRW26US Call your Tech Data representative at 1-800-858-5566 today.

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IBM and Tech Data’s 14th Annual Reseller Adventure held in Barcelona, Spain was an unforgettable adventure! IBM and Tech Data executives, along with 17 winning reseller partners from across Canada and their guests spent four days enjoying the unforgettable cultural experiences of art, history and beauty that Barcelona has to offer! The resellers had the opportunity to strengthen their business partnerships with IBM and Tech Data through keynote and product segment presentations, private exchange appointments, and exciting group activities. Thank you to our partners for your ongoing support and for making this year’s Reseller Adventure a great success.


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AIS EmployeeSpotlight Tech Times sat down with Michael Gagne, HP Field Sales Specialist at Tech Data Canada, to learn how the HP team provides partners with value added service and helps them remain competitive in the market. Q: How long have you been with Tech Data? I have been with Tech Data Canada for eight years. Q: What is your technical background? What technical certifications do you hold? I have the following certifications: HP ASP, VMware VSP and SNIA SCSP.

“From the development of our ATSC, to the expansion of our AIS team, we are consistently taking the success we had and building on it, to benefit our partners and our vendors.”

Q: What do you like most about Tech Data? In the eight years that I have been with Tech Data, I have found that it is in a constant state of evolution, where we look at what we have done in the past and ask what we can do better. It has always provided me with new challenges and new discoveries in my work. From the development of our ATSC to the expansion of our AIS team, we are consistently taking the success we had and building on it, to benefit our partners and our vendors. The key to that evolution is the people. Everyone is willing to put in the work that is required and more. Q: Describe a typical day for you: The life of a Sales Specialist at Tech Data is never typical. My days normally start out with a cup of Starbucks and follow up phone calls with partners on opportunities and programs. When I am travelling, there are usually a series of meetings during the day with our partners, engagement with our vendors, as well as constant communication with our inside sales teams and HP AIS team. I have often said that I have three clients that I need to keep happy, our partners being first and foremost, our inside sales teams and my vendor HP. It is a continuous conversation with all three via e-mail, voice and text at all times! Q: What do you like the most about your job? I am a bit of a techno nerd. I enjoy the technologies and the blinking lights. I also enjoy the interaction with our partners and vendors, the sense of accomplishment I get when I am able to help move a sale along, and helping a partner navigate through an HP process. I also enjoy the constantly changing environment. I know that each day won’t be the same as the day before and that each time the phone rings or my phone buzzes, there will be something new. Q: What motivates you in your job? I am motivated by the diversity of what we do. The sales person in me enjoys working the opportunities with our partners and seeing it come to a close. The business person in me likes working with our marketing team and vendors on programs and sales initiatives. The coffee fan in me enjoys working with Starbucks to fill my customer card. Q: What has been your most memorable moment or biggest success since joining Tech Data? My biggest accomplishment has been the development of our HP CTO business, something we had started working on six years ago. It has culminated into a business with a focused team from our sales, technical and marketing departments. It was an excellent example of how Tech Data Canada can succeed as a team dedicated to a simple notion that we can provide our partners with a value added service while at the same time keeping them very competitive in a very competitive market. Q: Anything else you think we should know about you? I am a frequent user of Facebook, so if you ever want to know more about me, that is probably the best place to go!

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The company continues its transformation from a software company to a devices and services company at its annual partner conference in Houston. Robert Dutt

Microsoft’s top international partners get a chance to fly their flags on the main stage.


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It might take some time – perhaps as long as two decades – but ultimately, all businesses will move towards public cloud services instead of software purchases, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told 15,000-plus of the company’s partners kicking off Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston. That belief is driving the agenda for Microsoft, which is in the midst of transforming itself from a software company to a devices and services company, and for its partner engagements, where it’s opening more of its cloud services to more of its partners in the way most want access to it. “At the end of the day, the path to the cloud, whether it takes 5, 10, 15, 20 years, leads almost all companies to the public cloud,” Ballmer told attendees. Its partners are on their way too – at least its top partners. A Microsoft-commissioned study by IDC announced at the conference noted that cloud-oriented partners are the top performers in terms of revenue per employee, gross profit, customer acquisition and growth in the Microsoft partner ecosystem. Microsoft’s advantage, Ballmer told attendees, is that it’s the one of the few companies with experience building massive scale cloud infrastructures, the types its rolled out first in support of its own Bing search service and later in support of its Azure cloud platform. And Ballmer said Microsoft is the only one in that elusive club that’s also investing in the tools and infrastructure to build private clouds and connect private and public clouds to produce hybrid cloud offerings. IDC’s study on behalf of Microsoft notes that 74 percent of customers want their cloud service provider to also be able to offer comparable on-premise expertise, supporting Ballmer’s hypothesis that hybrid cloud is the winner today. “We are the only solution, and certainly the best solution, for customers who want [single vendor for public and private cloud offerings],” Ballmer said.

Office 365 Open Expansion Given its focus on it over the last two years, it’s no surprise that Ballmer proclaimed the company’s Office 365 cloud-based collaboration and productivity suite as the company’s latest business to cross the billion-dollar threshold. When it was first introduced to channel partners, many partners balked at terms and conditions around the offering, which limited partners to playing essentially an agent role on sales, and ensured that Microsoft and Microsoft alone owned the billing relationship with customers. After substantial complaints from most sectors of its channel community, Microsoft relented, allowing partners to maintain the billing relationship with customers on select SKUs of Office 365 through the Office 365 Open program, introduced at last year’s WPC in Toronto. This year, channel chief Jon Roskill announced that additional Office 365 SKUs, including Professional Plus, Government, and Academic will now be available via Office 365 Open, meaning that partners can maintain customer control on a much greater number of Office 365 deals. The company will also introduce for partners what Roskill called “transition SKUs” for Office 365 for companies that are on one type of subscription to the service, but wish to move to higher levels of Office. Additionally, Tammi Reller, Microsoft CFO and CMO for Windows, announced the company would invest an additional $100 million in channel enablement over the course of its just-started fiscal 2014. “Where we’re heading with Office 365

presents even more opportunities,” she said. “We want you, and we need you, to lead.”

Integrating Cloud Programs Microsoft Corp. is making its cloud partners mainstream within flagship Microsoft Partner Network (MPN), announcing that that by the beginning of 2014, its cloud partner programs will be integrated into MPN competencies. Roskill said the company now

Growing Out of Software Ballmer told partners that the shift from a pure software company to a devices and services company is necessary due to changes in the way people data and applications. While the bombastic CEO said he still believes that software development “is the most valuable skill that anybody on the planet can possibly have,” software as an isolated entity is no longer the way to go because software is being consumed on a wider number of devices than ever before, and is being powered more and more by cloud services on the back end. Microsoft has already defined the experience on one iconic device, the PC, he told attendees, and it will work to define the experience on a variety of new sets of devices. This, he said, is Microsoft’s new raison d’etre. “We think we understand the tools and technologies it takes to get work done better than anyone on the planet. Whether you’re an employee, a customer or partner, or a developer, we build the experiences that let you get stuff done,” he said. “We will deliver the devices and services that bring things alive when people want to be productive.”

An array of Windows-powered devices take the spotlight on stage as CEO Steve Ballmer makes his pitch to partners.

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Integrating Cloud Programs Microsoft Corp. is making its cloud partners mainstream within flagship Microsoft Partner Network (MPN), announcing that that by the beginning of 2014, its cloud partner programs will be integrated into MPN competencies. Roskill said the company now has 150,000 partners worldwide with cloud practices. “We have crossed the chasm, we do have critical mass,” Roskill said. “I consider this a really significant milestone in the partner ramp for Microsoft cloud products.” That number is more than twice the number of partners who were representing the company’s cloud offerings as recently as last year’s WPC in Toronto, and represents “the fastest awakening of the slowest ramp we’ve ever done,” as Roskill puts it. The company first started discussing the move towards cloud technologies five years ago – when last WPC was in Houston as it is this week – but really has turned up the volume over the last three years, starting with CEO Steve Ballmer’s bold proclamation in 2010 that partners need to be ready for a future that includes cloud in their business model, or they risk being left aside. Elements of the Cloud Essentials and Cloud Accelerate programs will be bought into MPN as part of an overall revamp that will also see increased focus on devices and Windows applications, data center practices, and business analytics and Big Data opportunities.


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Surface Will Be for All Partners (Eventually) The company’s channel plans for its Surface tablets was a hot topic heading into this year’s WPC, and remains so coming out. Days before the conference, the company announced plans to make the tablets available to a handful of very large U.S.-based direct market resellers and large account resellers, but access to the tablets for the rest of the partner community remains elusive. At WPC, the company announced it would make the tablets available under the Microsoft Devices channel program in 28 other countries, including Canada, by the end of September. That rollout will follow the U.S. model, limiting access to a select few volume partners. “The countries will decide who to pull into the first wave, but it will be mostly the DMRs and LARs who sell hardware, as well as large traditional hardware VARs,” Roskill said. That first wave abroad will likely be followed by broader distribution for the tablet in the U.S., and a similar expansion to more of Microsoft’s 600,000-plus channel partners around the world. “Our plan is to end up with full distribution around the world,” Roskill said. “Our business customers clearly want to buy Surface from our partners.”

However Roskill was unable to pinpoint when, past the broader rollout to DMRs and LARs internationally in September, more partners were likely to get their hands on Surface. Roskill described the rollout of Surface into the channel as a “phased approach” and said that the company is being purposely cautious in rolling out Surface to a broader channel, because selling hardware in a business-tobusiness environment is a whole new ballgame for a company that’s grown up selling software licenses and shrinkwrapped boxes. “It’s a whole new set of contracts, it’s a different type of logistics challenge,” Roskill said. “There’s a lot of complexity around hardware that we haven’t had to deal with through the software world.” Roskill said response to the limited international expansion announced Monday has been “very good,” and judging by the pictures from the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston this week, Surface definitely has the channel’s attention. The company is offering partners the opportunity to purchase (for their own use) Surface tablets at deeply discounted rates during the event this week -- $99 for the Surface RT and $399 for Surface Pro – and pictures on social media showed lineups as long as two hours for partners wanting to get the tablets.

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“A huge ‘thank you’ to Tech Data! We look forward to next year and keeping the Calgary tradition of bringing us all together.” Jodi Munro, Director Contact Center Operations Cisco Canada

Last year, Cisco and Tech Data joined partners in Calgary and helped celebrate Stampede’s centennial year with the theme of “We are greatest together.” A year later this motto could not be more accurate as the people of Calgary overcame the devastating floods that had threatened their region. It was hard to imagine that we would be moving forward with our annual Cisco – Tech Data Stampede activities this year after what the city had gone through, but given that the Stampede festivities were tagged “Come Hell or High Water” and with the support of our partners in the region, we too moved forward! In keeping with tradition, we were able to celebrate the 101st Stampede year over two fun-filled days. On the first day we enjoyed a golf and dinner event while our annual partner and end-user breakfast kicked off our second day. Both activities allowed Cisco partners to interact with Cisco and Tech Data folks involved in their business, and we were grateful to be able to bring our partners together in a relaxed social setting for a well-deserved break! 2014 will be Tech Data and Cisco’s 10th Annual Stampede Celebration and we hope that you can saddle up and celebrate with us next year!

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TechSelect Member Profile

– In this issue of Tech Times, we learn how TechSelect membership is helping Microtrends Computer Systems Ltd. of Calgary, Alberta achieve success.

Q: Tell us a little about your organization: Microtrends Computer Systems LTD was founded in 1989 with a desire to focus on customer solutions as its mission statement. We leverage our relationships with manufacturers and distribution channels to achieve the highest stability and design solutions for our customers and their environment needs. Our primary focus is with tier one product solutions since our growth largely depends on our customers recommendations to new clients. We currently enjoy a large core customer group that has surpassed 15 years of business with Micro Trends who, along with their referrals, keep us expanding comfortably year after year. Our SMB target is still the forefront of our business focus. These clients have great growth potential and keep our sales and service team involved in many new technologies. One of our newly acquired industries seven years ago was digital signage and at that time, Media Trends was introduced to fill this niche. Media Trends developed its own digital scheduling software that provides web based servicing from our own web server farm. This scheduling software enabled us to further our presence by selling digital flash ads that generate revenue for our customers. In essence, we have teamed up with our customers to share in the profit generated from digital advertising at their facilities such as hockey arenas, fitness clubs, doctors’ offices and more. All of our installs are custom and start with a blank sheet of paper centric to the customer’s ideas and needs for the enhancement of their business. Our well-engineered remote support programs from Microtrends are a perfect fit into the digital industry, providing stability and control of our many remote sites that we have exclusive presence with. Q: What are your thoughts on the industry in general? The increased complexity of servers and operating systems seems to be gaining ground causing many of our new customers to be far behind the industry curve or in poor performing conditions. Most of our newly acquired customers have had failed


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Terri Rauser and Amy Friedt of Microtrends have enjoyed being a member of the TechSelect community to expand their reach across Canada.

integration attempts of operating systems or other technologies that just do not perform well for them. The disbursement of tech support to all countries around the world has created a team of very specific technical skill sets that require an interface for all of the different technologies. The support received 10 years ago is long gone, leaving the industry integrators to fill this gap between the customer and specific support. There is lots of opportunity here as this expands even further. Q: What challenges are you facing and how do you overcome them? As technologies are converging in many areas, training and vendor/industry relationships become a critical piece. Our TechSelect community is a great component to our success as it allows for candid comparison of notes with our manufacturers, leveraging into other locations for a better reach and a larger offering to our customer base. Q: What would you like to see from vendor partners? We feel that our vendor partners are better than they ever have been. Their improvements over the years have been realized through better communication with our reps and an increase in leveraging the right people to solve complex deployments. We hope to see more investment from our partners in various areas of our business

model including demo offerings, training and funding for target verticals that allow us into these new industries. Q: What are your organization’s goals for the next five years? Controlling the growth will be the biggest task facing our team. This means that balance of work and pairing to the right customer will likely be at the forefront of our plans moving forward. Selecting the right additions to our staff is always difficult. When we can do that successfully, it will pave the road for greater than expected growth for us. Q: How has the TechSelect program helped you meet your organization’s goals? Being involved in the TechSelect community has been very important to us over the years. Not only has Tech Data been a major factor of our success by providing us with outstanding service, product availability and credit resources, but being able to leverage the TechSelect community has helped us build relationships with other resellers across Canada that have allowed us to confidently expand our service reach. We are not afraid to be open and honest with this community as we all have a common goal and have become close friends to all of the members. Q: What is your outlook for 2013? We are always excited for the opportunities that present themselves and we expect greater growth and expansion than 2012 has offered us.

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Cisco and partners shared their support of Boston following the Boston Marathon bombing.

At its annual Partner Conference in Boston, Cisco tells partners they have to diversify their business model Robert Dutt

The channel partner of the future has to get comfortable with business models that are today uncomfortable for many, Cisco’s worldwide channel chief told solution providers in his keynote at the company’s annual Partner Summit in Boston. The model is no surprise – Peres painted a picture of an “average” Cisco partner that in the future will be much less dependent on products sales and “close to the box” services, and much more about a variety of delivery models that include on-premise, managed services, and public or private cloud, will grow to

include more application-specific practices, and will wrap it all in professional services and a variety of consumption models for customers. What was a surprise, perhaps, is the subtle sense of urgency Peres brought to the partner community. “Many of you are still sitting on the sidelines, wondering if cloud is really here, if XaaS is really important,” Peres said, urging partners to get “off the sidelines and into the game.” That sense of urgency is underlined by data – Peres said the company’s own partner profitability

survey found that managed services and professional services are a much greater part of the mix for the company’s most profitable partners than they were even a year ago. The channel chief’s three-point message to partners: • Get comfortable with hybrid deliver models to allow flexibility to your customers; • Lead with professional services and complete solutions; and • Get your sales team ready to sell to customers outside of the IT management sphere.

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providers change. Peres said Cisco has spent more than nine months gathering ideas on how partners can successfully evolve, and vetting it against other members of the community. The result, he says, is a collection of best practices that address many of the most successful ideas from partners who’ve tackled the business model, sales, execution, and marketing challenges that most partners will face as they seek to diversify their business model. Peres said it’s all about finding the right pace and timing of change for partners. “If you move too quickly to a recurring revenues-heavy model, you will be greeted with cash flow challenges. But if you move too slowly, you’ll lose customers to the competition,” Peres advised. Cisco worldwide channel chief Edison Peres tells partners what the networking vendor feels is necessary for partners to thrive in the cloud world.

Peres delivered his message with a subtle sense of urgency – framing it with grandiose expressions of how the Cisco partner community was his “business family.” And it’s an apt analogy. The channel chief chose to tread carefully, being soothing and reassuring wherever possible, as one might do when delivering heartfelt advice to a family member who might not be entirely receptive to the message. In a roundtable with international press at the event, CEO John Chambers said the company didn’t think it was its place to deliver “change or die” messages to the partner community, but rather to provide the intelligence, guidance, and resources necessary for partners to find their own optimal path forward. But Peres did offer some tough talk for partners who have not yet started their journey to transform their businesses. “You need to weight the cost of successfully transforming versus the cost of doing nothing,” he told partners. Peter D’Almeida, managing director of Sri Lanka-based Cisco partner N-able Pvt. Ltd. had strong thoughts on the cost of doing nothing, comparing cloud-laggard solution providers to builders of horse-drawn carriages trying desparately to hold onto their business model at the dawn of the automobile era. As D’Almeida sees it, it’s an evolve or die moment. “I believe the system integration market as a whole is a dying breed,” D’Almeida said. “Particularly in the midmarket, it will not be a viable business model. We can’t make money selling products. We can make money selling technologies.” He said he appreciated the vendor’s candor, but believed they have to be even more blunt in raising the alarm with the partner base, saying that “Cisco has to help them understand that they need to do it or they’re


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dead.” To D’Almeida’s way of thinking, the only thing allowing old-school SIs to survive is that “the service providers aren’t smart enough to go after this business as of yet.” Of course, that reprieve is fleeting – consider the purchase of massive global Cisco partner Dimension Data by Japanese telco NTT.

“We’re better than our peers, but we’re not achieving customers’ goals – we’re not delighting our customers,” Chambers told attendees. Peres acknowledged that for many partners, re-orienting for the variety of delivery models – and the variety of business models that are required to make those delivery models real – may seem like “remodeling a plane while it’s flying and full of people,” but stressed it’s a necessary change for solution providers to thrive – although others might say it’s a more fundamental survival requirement. To that end, the networking vendor has introduced what it calls a Business Transformation Playbook to help solution

“We’re Not Delighting Our Customers” CChairman and CEO John Chambers delivered good news and bad news to the company’s channel partners when it comes to the overall satisfaction of their joint customers. The good news is that Cisco and its partners are earning higher customer sat marks than are competitors. The bad news is that even those customers aren’t exactly jumping for joy. Delivering a keynote kicking off Partner Summit, Chambers said the company and its ecosystem is leading the charge, but it’s doing so with marks of 3.7 or 3.8 out of 5.0. “We’re better than our peers, but we’re not achieving customers’ goals – we’re not delighting our customers,” Chambers told attendees. The problem, he says, is that as much as the industry has moved towards selling solutions, it’s not moved nearly far enough. Cisco, and its partners, still have a long way to go in terms of putting their offerings in the language of customers’ business goals – as Chambers puts it, seeing with customers’ eyes and listening with customers’ ears. It’s a change that needs to be made, though, and the success of the company is on the line. Chambers described “being customerdriven” as a competitive advantage for Cisco, perhaps second only to its vaunted skill at identifying and jumping on market transitions before they happen. So if the company (and by extension its partners) are only getting fair-to-middling reviews from customers, that no doubt has the fast-talking CEO’s attention. As much as solution providers have made changes over time, largely embracing the solutions-selling model and building the skills to talk to line-of-business leadership

as much or moreso than IT executives, Chambers’ data shows that there’s still a disconnect between what customers would like to get, and what they are getting.

Cloud Program: From Supply to Demand In the two years since Cisco introduced a three-pronged, cloud-centric partner program at Partner Summit 2011, it focused heavily on programs for those that build private clouds for their customers, and for those that want to create and market cloud services powered by Cisco gear and technology. Those two programs represent the supply side of the cloud equation in the Cisco partner community. But with changes to its programs and incentives announced at this year’s Partner Summit, the company declared its intention to start building the demand side of the equation. Over the last two years, Cisco built up a strong stable of cloud builders and Ciscobased cloud services. The company boasts 1,700 cloud certifications and 350 Ciscopowered cloud services in the market, with an almost equal number in various points of development. But the company did little

Cisco CEO John Chambers told partners that Cisco and its resellers have to improve their customer satisfaction scores.

for those not yet at the point of rolling their own cloud services or standing up clouds on behalf of their customers. The developments, announced at Partner Summit, go a long way to level that playing field. For the first time, the company will allow partners selling XaaS offerings to use the Cisco-powered brand for their business, not just the services they resell or market. And the company will also allow those

partners to claim Value Incentive Programs’ back-end rebates for the Cisco portions of the Cisco-powered cloud services they offer. The company also announced plans to make sure its own field resources are motivated to help partners sell Cisco-powered cloud services, boosting the compensation for Cisco salespeople 30 percent around most cloud services, with a 100 percent uplift on its Hosted Collaboration Solution.

July/August 2013


In this edition of Voice of the Vendor, we sit down with Shannon Sbar, APC’s Vice President of Channels. Q: What are the responsibilities of your role?

I am the Vice President of the Channels, which consists of IT Distribution, Direct Market Resellers, Electrical Distribution, and Retail. I am focused on increasing business effectiveness, creating strategic relationships, driving growth and improving customer satisfaction. Q: How did you get started in the industry?

I started out by working for Vivendi Universal for five years where I gained strong retail experience as a National Account Director. Q: What advice do you have for those just starting out?

I would advise them to look at all of the opportunities available today. With the advent of Cloud technologies, there are so many more new opportunities than ever before.


July/August 2013

Vice President of Channels, APC by Schneider Electric

Shannon Sbar

Q: What challenges you?

I am challenged by helping partners understand who Schneider Electric is and the opportunity that we represent for them. Partners know who APC is, but we are building upon APC’s history of channel excellence and establishing a vision for the future of the channel. We are making Schneider Electric the company that will help channel partners adapt to today’s challenges to meet future opportunity, just as it has helped the channel through 20 years of market changes and volatility. Q: Tell us about your greatest achievement.

My greatest achievement would be my focus on process improvements as it contributed to APC by Schneider Electric winning Tech Data Corporate’s Supply Chain Excellence Award. Q: What do you see as the biggest benefit to partnering with Tech Data?

It’s about people and consistency. It’s a relationship that has always been one of mutual respect, admiration, support and collaboration. When there is long term partnership, it is easier to improve profitability and efficiency. Q: What is APC’s outlook for 2013?

We see tremendous opportunity for partners since access to information is more critical than ever before. As information may be on premise or in the cloud, protecting the network is just as important as the data center.

July/August Tech Times  

July/August 2013 Tech Times