B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 4 weeks ago

Providing Excellent Service with Ingram Micro & Cisco

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Cisco is known for pioneering the early web and helping create the backbone of the internet, carving out a spot as a global tech leader through hardware. Today, they’re focused on providing top-tier software through innovation and acquisitions.   

Shelby Skrhak speaks with Christian Hansen, Software & Services business development manager at Cisco, alongside Kayla Zielezinski and Ariana Santiago, both solutions sales specialists at Ingram Micro. They discuss: 

- The history and evolution of Cisco 

- How Ingram Micro serves Cisco infrastructure

- A snapshot of Ingram Micro partner resources   

To join the discussion, follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSo l #B2BTechTalk 

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify,Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. Or tune in on our website.

You're listening to B two B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro, the place to learn about new technology and technological advances before they become mainstream. This is the Cisco edition taking your business. I'll level up, let's get into it. Welcome to B two B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro. I'm your host Shelby skirt Hawk, and today we have three guests to discuss the history of Cisco software and what's ahead for partners. From Cisco, I'm joined by Christian Hansen, Software and Services to Business Development Manager, and from Ingram Micro, I'm joined by Arianna Santiago solution sales Specialists and Kayla Zelenski, solution sales specialist as well. Christian, Arianna and Kayla Welcome, Thank you, Shelby, thank thank you. Well. As I mentioned, you know, we are talking about the history of Cisco software and what's ahead for partners. But first,...

Christian, since we are talking about the history of Cisco, a little bit of a you know did you know? Or a little fun fact? Where's the name Cisco come from? I understand that it's an abbreviation of something it is and uh, good question. Many people think it's an acronym and it's come up a lot you from friends and family, and my kids asked once and then they guessed, and it was like Computer Information Systems Corporation and always something in that vein. But it's actually just an abbreviation of San Francisco, where it was found, where we were founded, even though we're in San Jose. Now, you know obviously the general Bay area, so short for San Francisco. And on the logo what looks like access bars or strength like you would have on your cell phone, is that the lines are of the Golden gate Bridge. I'll be darn you're right. You're right. Okay,...

I'm cheating and looking at it right now. So we know Cisco for hardware, but you know, Christian, what does Cisco offer in terms of software that's really moving the needle? Yeah, good point. I think when people think of Cisco, it's obvious that they think of hardware first, and that's because we were one of the pioneers and creating the backbone of the Internet, and that's certainly how we became a global tech leader. But since our curren CEO, Chuck Robbins, took over in two thousand and fifteen, we've been making a lot of aggressive moves towards software and recurring revenue in general, and that's both through innovation and through acquisitions. And so you know, for us, it's really about our B two B customer outcomes and as our customers of all their businesses digital transformation, all the changes that have gone on and are going on as they need to meet different needs of their inn customers. That's done through a multi architecture approach, and we work with our our vast partner organised Station to leverage our broad technology portfolio, and that combined with our partners...

...own business services, is a great are great solutions to meet the needs of our partners and customers or you know, as I would say, I guess us, Yeah, well, I wonder if you can break down some of those uh software offerings you mentioned. You start to mention those, but you know, across the different Cisco architectures, I guess, uh, you know, where do we start? Where do we start with some of those Cisco software? Sure? Well, you know we're giants, so it's it's hard to really go into too much depth on any one area and where we have such a broad and vast portfolio and really most of what we do is solution based in cross architecture. And I'll just touch on a few of our key priorities right now. One is full stack observe ability, another one is secure Access Service Edge, which you've probably heard referred to ASSASSY. And third that's...

...big right now is obviously hybrid work. So full stack of observe ability enables our customers to deliver optimal application experiences with deep business context from both on prem and in public clouds, whereas SASSY is about combining both networking and security functions into a single integrated as a service cloud offering with end to end observe ability. You know, hybrid work is really popular in the industry right now for obvious reasons, coming out of COVID and UH. People changing the way they work, and what probably seemed temporary at first is has some permanence to it, I believe, and our unique hybrid work offer gives customers the tools and data to create truly hybrid work environment, enabling employees to work from either home or the office or really anywhere in between. And you know, some of those are branded, like I said, it's really mark a cross architecture and multi architecture solutions, but some of the software we is recognizable in the consumer...

...market. One of them are bigger ones being WebEx. Yes, uh, you know the prevalence of you know, conferencing video conferencing software. I mean, gosh, you know where most of us maybe just use Skype a little bit, you know, maybe a Zoom calling every once in a while. Now, my gosh, I mean basically you are you're a ninja in. You know, if you work from home and you're one of those home office warriors, you you know, you're a ninja in in WebEx and Teams and Zoom and all of the major platforms out there. So yeah, I mean it's uh, you know, with that visibility and the consumer space in business consumer, I guess I can see where there's a lot of ground to cover with Cisco software. Yeah, that dreaded right before a meeting. Situation where you have to download something new or new plug in is always stressful, happen...

...me read Oh yes, well, um kayla, let me let me bring you in to discuss how Ingram Micro really serves those different Cisco architectures. So what is Ingram's value proposition? That's honestly a great question, and truthfully, I would have to say that it stems from the army of people that we have at Ingram, so from start to finish it we can basically help in any point of the process. We have a great team of pre sales tech support members. We also have technical account managers for those situations that are even kind of one off or need a little more attention. They specialize in different architectures and are really subject matter experts when it comes to building the configurations, understanding what not only the partner need, but the end user need is in really making sure that what they're building out is accurate. From there, we...

...have a team that can help with authorizations and creating those deals with the partner, and that's our land team here at Ingram. And then coming down even further into the software space, there is a whole team within Ingram Micro for Cisco software. Specifically, it's made up of a group of oh gosh, I think it's grown into about fifteen operational individuals who handle quotes and orders on a day to day basis. Um we have probably about six members that are solely dedicated to billing and Ariana myself just recently joined as the solution sales specialists to help from partner enablement side, So really anything within the Cisco software space. We're really kind of building out that team to help make sure that we can kind of help navigate and I'll say, and just really kind of grow with Cisco growing in the software world, right right. I Mean that's the...

...thing is that you know, Ingram supports the partners that support their customers, and so it's uh, you know, being able to have that breadth of knowledge and manpower because you know, we know that uh that skills and manpower or scares and being able to have that kind of you know, these subject matter experts basically assembled you know, for for partners is you know, certainly a big part of it, right right, absolutely, Well, so, Arianna, I guess if we could talk about some of the you know, specific resources. I mean, you know, Kalen mentioned the pre sales tech support. Is that the same as solution design and services? And I guess what are some of those resources that Ingram Micro offers their their partners and resellers. Yep, So he has the pre sales tech solutions and they just helped build out configurations for the customer and they just build out the entire thing for them based on their needs and then they will create an estimate for them and...

...the partner will turn that into a d I D which sends it to the Cisco Software Team and then we quote it and then that's how that goes. But another resource we have is the Cisco Virtual Learnings. We host those either monthly or quarterly, it depends, but they're just webinars for our resellers that for on topics that have been pain points for them, such as how to do renewals or our truth forwards. And then we also record these so that the resellers can go back and listen, or if someone new joins their team, they have access to those recordings so that they can kind of quickly learn and get up to speed with our processes. And then another great thing that we've been working on on the Cisco Software team is we've been working with our renew View team at Ingram. Renew View team actually sends out proactive renewal notices to our partners and it helps them stay on top of their upcoming renewals. It kind of just takes one more saying off of their plate so that they...

...don't have to remind themselves or their partners when a renewal is coming to we do it for them. They have a new view dashboard that they can go on and view all the renewals in one spot too. And then, like Kayla said, I would say the best resource would be me and Kayla ourselves to help the partners navigate the Cisco software world. It can be a little tricky sometimes, but partners can lean on us for any kind of enablement or understanding that they might need. Ye. Well, and that's you know, being able to have somebody to talk to about these things that you know as resources. Online resources are great and and webinars are fantastic resources to have. But you know, maybe sometimes you just have one single question that you need answered. I imagine that you guys are the are the ones to help with that stuff, right, definitely. So Christian, let me ask you about this about the relationship of of Cisco and Ingram Micro. How did the two...

...work well together? And I guess what's important to understand about what what's in store for partners coming down the pipeline. Ingram Micro is really a big partner of ours, a big and I don't mean that in the sense of a resale partner, A true partner in the sense of an extension of Cisco, and that's really how we look at Ingram and that extending out not just our competency programs helping them get the technical expertise and identifying partners who are strong in in across other vendors who might do well at Cisco, but really driving our solutions are revenue programs, are incentives and and everything it is to be a successful partner. We extend our reach through Ingram Micro. So an absolutely critical part of Cisco's go to market strategy is working very closely with Ingram Micro. Also, you know, as we do start to wrap up our episode, we always ask our guests the same final question, and that's where do you...

...see technology going in the next year. Now, of course that that's a that's very broad, but you know, I wonder if you can get a little bit of your crystal ball out and and look ahead to three. So Kristan, I'll go ahead and start with you. Yeah, I think you touched on it earlier when you you mentioned the various platforms that are out there, and I think that's just a general that's not changing. There's a lot of competition out there as things as technology starts to become commoditized. I think it's very important, and Cisco has a lot of advantages in having a broad portfolio with integrated solutions, multi architecture, but with that also becomes challenges because of those other platforms that you brought up. They customers might be really embedded with certain vendors, and if you're not flexible to tie around those vendors, you could be locked out of a customer completely. So I think having the broad architecture is huge, but also the flexibility to be able to coexist with other tech chnologies is becoming increasingly valuable as well. Yeah, that is important,...

Tayla. How about you. I personally think we're going to kind of see that kind of work from home model grow even more. Um. I think that we've seen it over the last year, and I kind of agree with question. I think Cisco has done a great job kind of adapting to that. Just being on the software team in general. Over the last year, we have seen the uptick and those subscriptions and everything, and I think that's just going to continue to grow. And I think that not just from a Cisco standpoint, but from kind of a technology standpoint that a lot of stuff will be moving kind of to that subscription based model. And Arianna, how about you. I think we're going to start to see more companies make platforms rather than online websites, so it can be a one stop shop for everything they might need instead of going to ten different websites for doing one's task like Amazon. Yeah. Yeah, that's smart. That's smart to be able to offer up. So no spaceships, surprised no one mentioned spaceships maybe,...

...but building blocks for spaceships for sure? Right right, all right, Well, I really appreciate all your time insight today, Christian, Kayla, and Arianna, thank you so much for joining me problem. Thanks for having us, Shelby, Thank you, Shelby, and thank you listeners for tuning in and subscribing to B two B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro. If you liked this episode or have a question, please join the discussion on Twitter with the hashtag B two B tech Talk. Until next time, I'm Shelby scar Hawk. You've been listening to B two B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro Cisco Edition, Taking your business, I'll level up. BOB Tech Talk is a joint production by Sweet Fish Media and Ingram Micro. Ingram Micro production handled by Laura Burton and Christine Fan. To not miss an episode, subscribe today in your favorite podcast platform.

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