Rola Dagher with Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins at a recent event in Toronto

Published: November 13th, 2017

DALLAS – Rola Dagher just completed her first Cisco Partner Summit as the President of Cisco Canada. And, after 22 meetings plus a big Canada Partner Celebration party at a Texas hotspot, Dagher still maintains a high-level of excitement for the opportunity ahead based on partner feedback and the energy from the entire three-day event.

Dagher did not want to overly complicate her dealings with channel partners and had just one main message: “95 per cent of all deals goes through channel partners. They are the foundation of what we do every day and that’s not going to change under my watch.”

But there is more. Dagher is following in the footsteps of the previous two administrations mandate on digital transformation. There is a slight twist, however. While the other two leaders drove the narrative that Canada should be a digital leader, Dagher said the customer expectation is that Cisco should be leading the charge towards digital transformation and have the partners by their side.

Her job for Canada is to work towards removing the complexity of digital transformation for channel partners and customers.

“Cisco – as a company – sometimes strives on complexity. You heard if from David (Goeckler), Wendy (Bahr) and Chuck (Robbins). Let’s make it easier for the customer. Let’s simplify the way we do business and the common theme coming from the partners is thank you for listening,” she said.

Dagher introduces the Power of 3 concept. Dagher’s Power of 3 is: One team, One Goal, One Mission.

“We want to have this strategy moving forward.”

The Power of 3 will focus on Cisco building up the channel’s capability, building up the channel’s expertise for the refresh and encouraging the move to lifecycle services, which in turn will provide better profitability for solution providers on recurring revenue streams because it will provide the channel an opportunity to grow across all lines of business with Cisco.

“We are talking about 40 per cent growth across the entire portfolio. Don’t be just a vendor; make sure you sell the value proposition story around security, software and intuitive networking along with Meraki and all of the above,” she added.

One way Cisco is making it simply is with the consolidation of incentive programs and specializations. Cisco reduced 10 different Express specializations down to one, while the Advanced Specialization program went from 13 down to five.

Canada is unique compared to all of Cisco’s theatres around the world. The Canadian economy has well over 90 per cent of businesses with less than 100 employees. This lends to many small regional players and what Cisco learned is that there were too many barriers for entry with this group.

The introduction of Easy Pay, Dagher said, ultimately goes back to simplifying things for the customer. She said customers demand choice for products and services and now too how to pay for them. The shift to cloud has created the consumption model and Easy Pay is a way where it can map out how to run their business. “It’s called Easy Pay for a reason. There is no mystery about it. It’s going to be fast and predictable,” she said.

THE GOOGLE PARTNERSHIP

One of the more significant announcements Cisco has made this year is with Google. The company does have other cloud partnerships with Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, but Dagher told CDN what Canadians should know about the Cisco partnership with Google is it will be “disruptive.”

Dagher could not tip her hand as to what exactly it will look like as Cisco is planning on revealing those details sometime in the first quarter of 2018. She did say the work put forward will be on developing new ways to optimize the investments made by customers.

“Customers who jumped into the cloud thought it was a parking lot you put stuff in. It’s a journey and the one thing that is clear is this (Google) partnership is how we get you to the cloud with guidance,” she said.