ChannelLife Australia logo
Industry insider news for Australia's technology resellers
Story image

Interview: Tara Ridley on how Cisco's channel partners drive meaningful change

By Sara Barker
Tue 12 Mar 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Tara Ridley has come full circle at Cisco, and she couldn’t be happier to be there. Ridley is Cisco Australia and New Zealand’s director of partner organisation and started in the channel 11 years ago. She’s now 18 months into leading Cisco’s channel operations, she manages a team across A/NZ.

At Cisco Live in Melbourne last week, I spoke to Ridley about Cisco’s channel programme across A/NZ and how partners are giving meaning to Australia's Country Impact Plan.

“I think we have one of the most mature channel programmes around the globe. We have a rigorous certification process because we want to protect the brand,” she says.

“We want to make sure that anyone that wants to represent and sell our brand into market go through the correct certification process to be able to supply and install the products.”

As  with many channel partner programmes, Cisco offers different partner tiers depending on the level of investment partners want to make. 

Any business that registers as a Cisco partner must buy through Cisco’s A/NZ distributors. In Australia, those distributors are Dicker Data, Ingram Micro, and Westcon. In New Zealand, those distributors are Westcon and Telegistics.

For tier 1 partners, they must hit more than US$14 million in annual spend before they can buy direct from Cisco. Ridley says that bar used to be much lower, but the company has raised it in recent years.

Across Australia and New Zealand, Cisco’s distribution managers focus on growing the tier two businesses through the distributors.

“Each of our disties have named partner list. So we sit down with the start of the year and we identify between 20 and 30 partners where we see a real opportunity for growth. They're the partners that we actively want them to invest in, because we see them as an extension of Cisco."

“We want them to represent us so we will drive growth through those partners. Our rebate structure is targeted around and around those partners as well. So get accelerated rebates by growing through those partners.”

Managed services and managed service providers (MSPs) are a growth area for Cisco. 

“They're very different from just your typical system integrator or small tier two that they're demanding. They want flexibility and everything in terms of as a service. They challenge us, but it’s fantastic because they are at the forefront and leading the way.”

In the MSP space, A/NZ is already asking for flexibility, different consumption models, different pricing types before the rest of the world because there are innovators who are pushing the boundary, Ridley says. 

“We’ve still got a lot more work to do, but I see a lot more investment in the future going into that sort of MSP or SP as a channel space.”

Cisco runs an Australian Country Impact Plan, which supports Australia’s digital transformation in three areas: The innovation economy, human capital, and healthy communities. 

The plan provides plenty of opportunities for partners because now they have purpose to make a difference to real problems in Australia – and use technology to solve those problems. It’s a vastly different approach to just selling things like security or switching and routing just to earn money.

“Every partner that I've talked to absolutely loves it because it changes the conversation with the customer. You're going to solve a country problem, whether it's health care or whether it's providing access to communities that that don't have education, or solving transport problems.”

“Whatever it might be, it's, it's a much more exciting conversation than talking to an IT manager about how many things we can sell.”

Partners are at the centre of everything and Cisco can’t do any of the country impact initiatives on its own.

“I think the partners have a really important role to play because we want their IP, we want their ideas. We want them to us to partner within and leverage their own ecosystem. 

Many partners obviously deal with all sorts of different types of companies, whether it's software or they might even have their own developers in-house. 

“I feel proud that we've tied it back to something really meaningful," Ridley concludes.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Bitdefender, Cohesity, Fortinet & MODIFI
We round up all job appointments from June 27-30, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Australian consumers loyal to retailers who deliver speed and visibility
SOTI finds extensive order visibility and speed are the most important factors for turning one-off customers into loyal, long-term buyers.
Story image
Online shopping
Consumers want speed, visibility in return for brand loyalty
72% of Australian shoppers want complete online order visibility and 63% are loyal to retailers who deliver goods the fastest.
Story image
Evonik relies on Getac F110 tablet to control autonomous robot
The aim of the project is to evaluate the practicality of an automated robotic maintenance and inspection solution in the chemical industry.
Story image
HP Inc
Firmware attacks significant threat in age of hybrid work
Changing workforce dynamics are creating new challenges for IT teams around firmware security, according to new research.
Story image
WatchGuard Technologies
Ransomware volume doubled 2021 total by end of Q1 2022
Ransomware detections in the first quarter of this year doubled the total volume reported for 2021, according to a new report. 
Story image
NOWPayments launches new service to analyse cryptocurrency fees
NOWPayments has launched a new network fee optimisation solution that analyses current network fees and picks the most profitable option out of the client's payout wallets.
Story image
Mergers and Acquisitions
SAS acquires Kamakura to propel risk technology innovation
Underscoring SAS growth in the domain-specific solutions space, the acquisition will enable SAS to greatly enhance the breadth of its risk solutions portfolio. 
Story image
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure expands distributed cloud services
“Distributed cloud is the next evolution of cloud computing, and provides customers with more flexibility and control in how they deploy cloud resources."
Story image
Dicker Data
EXCLUSIVE: Why women in IT makes good business sense - Dicker Data
The Federal government wants to bolster female participation in the tech industry to at least 40% by 2030. Here's how one homegrown Australian company has already reached that goal.
Story image
Hands-on review: Phillips Hue starter kit
The set-up was one of the simplest I have ever had to do. It is also where the products shine. I was able to connect the bridge, the three lightbulbs and the strip within 10 min.
Story image
Enterprise Resource Planning / ERP
Five ways your ERP is letting you down and why its time for a change
Wiise explains while moving to a new system may seem daunting, the truth is that legacy systems could be holding your business back.
Story image
How New South Wales state departments achieved cloud migration success
State departments in New South Wales are heading to the cloud to achieve better workflow solutions, and one company is paving the way for their success.
Story image
FIDO Alliance releases guidelines for optimising UX with FIDO Security Keys
The new guidelines aim to accelerate multi-factor authentication deployment and adoption with FIDO security keys.
Story image
Four things wholesale distributors need to consider for FY2023
In a post-pandemic world, there are many things for a distribution business to juggle. ERP solutions company Wiise narrows down what companies should focus on.
Project management
Discover the 4 crucial factors for choosing the right job-costing solution. Is your team struggling to cost jobs and keep projects running on budget?
Link image
Story image
Four factors to consider when choosing the right job accounting solution
Progressive job-based businesses can achieve success by strengthening their ability to quantify every cost attributable to the delivery of an outcome for a customer.
Story image
Public Cloud
Public cloud services revenues top $400 billion in 2021
"For the next several years, leading cloud providers will play a critical role in helping enterprises navigate the current storms of disruption."
Story image
Global investment in data centers more than doubled in 2021
DLA Piper's latest global survey finds the total investment in data center infrastructure worldwide rose from USD $24.4 billion in 2020 to USD $53.8 billion in 2021.
Story image
Zero trust security adoption rises 27% in just two years
A survey of WAN managers has revealed that multi-factor authentication and single sign-on are the top zero trust features implemented.
Story image
Data crucial to capture shoppers' wallets post-COVID
First-party data strategies key to driving personalisation, customer satisfaction, and long-lasting relationships according to a new report.
Story image
How to achieve your monthly recurring revenue goals
Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) is the ultimate goal, the most important issue on which anyone in the IT channel should focus.
Story image
Vulnerable APIs costing businesses billions every year
Large companies are particularly vulnerable to the security risks associated with exposed or unprotected APIs as they accelerate digital transformation.  
Story image
Macquarie Data Centres
Macquarie deal to pioneer CO2-cutting data centre tech in Australia
Macquarie Data Centres has signed a multi-year deal with ResetData, an Australian first provider using Submer data centre technology. 
Supply chain
Discover the 4 critical priorities for wholesale distribution businesses in FY23. Are you worried about how supply chain issues may affect your business in 2023?
Link image
Story image
Oracle Cloud
Commvault, Oracle to deliver Metallic Data Management as a Service
"We are excited to partner with Commvault and enable our customers to restore and recover their most mission-critical cloud data."
Story image
Internet of Things
ManageEngine wins big in IDC MarketScape assessment
ManageEngine's Endpoint Central service has been recognised as a leader by IDC MarketScape in several categories including Internet of Things device deployments and UEM software for SMEs.
Story image
Cyber Criminal
Identity and access: the fight is on
Blue team defenders are used to protecting our data, applications, and users with access controls and other security mechanisms, which is why attacks like this are especially challenging when they target identity and access control systems.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
HPE GreenLake advances hybrid cloud experience with new services
"The innovations unveiled today further build on our vision to provide the market with an unmatched platform to spur innovation and drive transformation.”
Story image
ASI Solutions named finalist of Microsoft Surface Partner of the Year
"ASI Solutions has a strong Microsoft focus, building value by helping customers maximise investment in modern workplace solutions."
Story image
Hybrid workforce
Why hybrid working is here to stay and how to ace it
Citrix's new report reveals hybrid workers are more productive and engaged at work than their office and completely remote counterparts.
Story image
The best ways to attract young talent during labour shortages
New research from Citrix reveals hybrid working and ventures into the metaverse are top of mind for Gen Z workers.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
Advent One acquires Layer 8 Networks, complements hybrid cloud offering
The acquisition comes at a time of surging demand in hybrid cloud, network virtualisation and network security.
Story image
Data Protection
Five signs your business is ready to move to the cloud
Many organisations are thinking about moving to the cloud. But what are the signs you are ready, and what are the reasons to move?
Story image
Identity and Access Management
Ping Identity named a Leader in Access Management
Ping Identity has been named a leader in the 2022 KuppingerCole Leadership Compass report for Access Management. 
Story image
Australia Post Online Retail Industry Awards finalists for 2022 announced
Finalists have been announced for this year's 2022 Australia Post Online Retail Industry Awards (ORIAS Awards), recognising the achievements of online retailers in Australia.
Discover the 5 ways your ERP may be letting you down. Is your current system outdated, difficult to manage, and costing you a fortune?
Link image
Story image
MYOB improves data visibility and user access with Snowflake
"Solutions such as Snowflake allow us to better understand our customers and make evidence-based decisions on what features work best for them."
Story image
Hands-on review – CleanMyMac X utility for macOS
We get hands-on with a useful utility that macOS users never thought they needed but probably do.
Story image
Sutton Tools deploys Infor M3 CloudSuite for manufacturing
Sutton Tools has also implemented the Infor OS cloud operating platform, including Infor Intelligent Open Network and Mongoose.
Story image
Civil Defence
OutSystems platform chosen as part of ADF contract
"To be included in this project is a reflection of our ability to deliver secure, modern digital outcomes for defence at an incredible pace."
Digital Transformation
Discover the 5 signs your business is ready for a cloud-based ERP. Is your business being left behind as more of your competitors switch to the cloud?
Link image
Story image
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CyberArk
Olly Stimpson joins us today to discuss the importance of MSP programmes and how MSP partners are experiencing success with CyberArk.
Story image
Monitors are an excellent incentive for getting employees back
The pandemic has taught us that hybrid working is a lot easier than we would’ve thought, so how can the office be made to feel as comfortable as home? The answer could be staring you in the face right now.