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With the dawn of a new Cisco Fiscal Year, the EDGE360 team tapped various team members at SYNNEX Comstor for their advice to partners to start the year off right. The Product Business Management (PBM) team had a lot to offer in the way of valuable lessons learned, technology trends, mitigating challenges, and advice for the year ahead.

Here’s what they had to share:

Important Lessons Learned:

Carissa Scholl, Manager of Cisco Enablement Programs for SYNNEX Comstor

We’ve seen first-hand how our partners strengthen their Cisco competitive advantage when engaging with SYNNEX Comstor and our EDGE program. We strongly encourage partners to get involved early and have a prescriptive plan in place to create that strong foundation for a successful Cisco practice. Our partners are not alone, and we create an environment to help them navigate through the complexities of Cisco. This could include the Cisco Partnership levels, promotions, incentives, engineering, operations, sales, our exclusive tools, and more.

A key factor to remember is that line-of-business leaders are looking for a return on their investments. This is where it is crucial to understand solution selling and bridging the gap between sales and engineering. How to communicate effectively to customers is extremely important to understand their business needs. Being a solution to a problem and a trusted advisor is something that should be applied to their Cisco practice, and we can help pave the way depending on a partner’s vision and business needs.

Impactful Technology:

Evan Bell, Product Business Manager for Cisco Security at SYNNX Comstor

Nowadays, it can feel like we are living in “The Matrix.” Technology is becoming so much more sophisticated and advanced with things like artificial intelligence and machine learning, especially in IT. We are constantly discovering fascinating new ideas that are going to make IT consumers’ everyday activities so much easier.

Some new tech that I think is going to have a big impact this year:

  • Digital Workplace – We are seeing an increasing amount of businesses figure out ways to do remote work. To take advantage of this, businesses will need a secure collaboration platform, like Webex and Webex Teams. This solution can offer an easy-to-setup meeting and team collaboration tool that has security built-in. Easily share files, call team members, and safely collaborate within your organization, as well as outside. This is also a great tool that is now critical for telemedicine and education, too!
  • Multi-Factor Authentication – Remote users need to be secure when accessing our critical business applications and connecting to the network. This means we must ensure that the users accessing our apps are who they say they are. Enter Duo, the world’s easiest Multi-Factor Authentication solution out there. With Duo, we can get insights into user device hygiene, enforce corporate compliance, and verify user’s identity with a single push of the Duo app. It is crucial for businesses to have this now more than ever, and Cisco’s Duo is the best product out there.
  • Cisco Umbrella – This solution was built to protect users who are accessing the web from anywhere. With so much functionality being bolted on to this product, security has never been simpler. First, we started with a web gateway, which protects users from accessing malicious domains, which helps to stop malware and phishing at the source. Additionally, we have seen Cisco’s Cloudlock solution become more integrated into Umbrella, so we now have additional CASB functionality, as well. This ensures that IT teams have visibility when users connect to applications and enforces what kind of behavior is allowed on those applications inside an environment. The icing on the cake is the Layer 3 firewall, safeguarding against malware on the user’s device.

Championing Collaboration Efforts:

Gavin Critchlow, Product Business Manager for Cisco Collaboration at SYNNEX Comstor

Building on Evan’s thoughts on the digital workspace, the importance of reliable collaboration solutions cannot be understated. In the next year, companies will make some big decisions regarding transitioning their workforce back to the office. We could see a full return to the office in some cases, or a hybrid environment with some at home, some in the office, or we will see companies no longer requiring people in seats at the office. The office may disappear altogether and become a virtual space. 

Cisco Collaboration solutions will be in the mix of offerings out there for video conferencing, messaging, voice/calling, call centers, and endpoint solutions. Cisco endpoints combined with collaboration software (Webex Platform) present seamless productivity across all workstyles. What sets the Cisco solution apart from its competitors is the single platform, single pane of glass management, and usability.

The Webex solution is complete on its own as a collaboration toolset. Some companies require third-party tie-in devices and additional software for added features with hidden cost add-ons to really bulk out their offerings. With Cisco all the features needed in the Webex solution are established up-front and integrated into their endpoints. In addition, and possibly the most important aspect of all, is Webex’s interoperability with just about every other software tool companies are currently utilizing. This is because it is an open platform. Developers can build their own tie-ins with Webex. Webex has its own applications to tie in with other leading manufacturers like Microsoft and Google. It is a solution that has been proven in the last year as the professional and secure choice when it comes to remote learning, remote training, and the remote workforce.

Challenges in a Post-COVID Channel:

Ezequiel Rios, Product Business Manager for Cisco Meraki at SYNNEX Comstor

With the Cisco Fiscal Year 2022 kicking off, one of the main challenges facing partners will be the cybersecurity of their company and their customers. Since the start of the pandemic, the digitalization of the workplace was a rapid phenomenon, and it forced companies to allow many more devices into their network.

With this surge, cybercrime is also at an all-time high, forcing companies to put new procedures in place that can be automated and standardized to protect their data and assets. Cisco protects all the Forbes 100 companies, and it has industry-leading technology embedded in their hardware and software to minimize the vulnerabilities of the network. SYNNEX Comstor offers multiple pieces of training and certifications in different areas of Cisco Security. We’ll help you learn about the different solutions available, how to position them, and how to access to the best pricing available.

Advice for Partners in the New Version of the Channel:

Shawn Motley, Director of Cisco Product Business Management at SYNNEX Comstor

As we move into the Cisco Fiscal Year 2022, it has become even more important to define the technology area(s) your business will focus on and understand what’s required to find success. Whether it’s emphasizing core networking, security, collaboration, data center, or all the above, understanding the Cisco requirements and having the expertise on staff to be successful is critical.

The Cisco Channel Partner Program with its multiple paths and specific requirements for each path can be daunting, but understanding how to navigate the steps quickly can accelerate your business practice and help you achieve success and profitability much faster. Working with the SYNNEX Comstor EDGE team helps you create a clear and concise roadmap of the programs based on your focus area goals and will help you save time and precious resources as you build and grow your Cisco business practice. Partners who have a deep understanding of the Cisco Partner Programs will find the most success in the new Cisco Fiscal Year. Don’t get left behind.