BC Cho, Cisco

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Bum-Coo Cho, Cisco
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Bum-Coo Cho, Cisco

BC Cho is the vice president, partner & routes to market sales for Asia Pacific, Japan and Greater China at Cisco Systems. He leads the development of Cisco's partner ecosystem growth strategy, believing partners are fundamental to the company's major transitions.

With more than 35 years of experience and a broad understanding of IT, BC believes that the success of Cisco is largely due to its partners, who play a crucial role in driving the company's major transitions. And he has been putting in place various transformation programs for the first time in Cisco to drive continued growth both for Partners and Cisco.

He holds a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from Seoul National University and a master's degree from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). In his free time, he enjoys playing golf. 

Number of years in current role:

1

Number of years in current company:

10

Number of years involved in indirect/channel sales:

10

Reports to:

Dave West, SVP and president of Asia Pacific, Japan, and Greater China

What percentage of overall sales come through your indirect channel and alliance relationships?

90 per cent

What is your personal channel philosophy?

Cisco recognises that partners play a pivotal role in fostering growth and achieving success. Partners are integral to Cisco and our focus is on streamlining business interactions with Cisco, ensuring that partners are eager to engage in business with us.

This commitment extends to delivering superior products and solutions, ultimately providing partner sellers with increased financial benefits. In pursuit of these objectives, any partner programs and investments must strategically align and be mutually beneficial, where both partners and Cisco thrive in the marketplace. Cisco remains dedicated to not only supporting partner growth but also establishing a foundation for collaborative success.

What are your biggest channel priorities for 2024?

Driving recurring revenue performance across the lifecycle.

What are your personal channel accomplishments over the past year?

Over the past year, I've spearheaded the growth of our partner ecosystem, expanding our network, fostering deeper relationships with key partners, and launching targeted training programmes. My focus on enabling partners has resulted in an increase in partner-led sales and a stronger, more engaged partner community.

What honours or awards have you received over the past year?

I was awarded the Country Manager Excellence award in 2022, which was first designed in Cisco. I was the first and the only Theater leader to be recognised for my successful business operations and innovations in the industry.

Also under my leadership, Cisco Korea was awarded with "Theater of the year" in 2022 for the first time.

What are your organisation's biggest channel accomplishments over the past year?

We increased partner opportunities in key routes-to-market. We made it easier for partners to utilise the whole Cisco portfolio in a managed services model with 18 partner-managed ready offers. They come pre-bundled with everything partners need to bring a managed service to market. 

We increased the number of transacting partners on the AWS marketplace by 300 per cent and expanded products available include SaaS and cloud-based software spanning security, collaboration, applications, and networking.

We enhanced the partner experience, adding more actionable, guided, and personalized insights to our Partner Experience Platform (PXP). Partners get real-time insights into: rebate money left on the table and actions they can take to capture it; how customers adopt and use software across the lifecycle; and visibility into all sales opportunities with a customer.

Finally, we announced the new Cisco Partner Incentive which simplifies and aligns to Cisco sales metrics. It creates a unified Cisco incentive that rewards all aspects of go-to-market, increases predictable growth, and improves the partner experience.

We also announced new solution specialisations targeting secure networking and IOT, plus a major refresh of the SMB specialisation as well as new Cisco Powered Services for Private 5G, Managed Firewall, and Intelligent Workspace.

Where would you most like to see your partners invest in 2024?

It's important for partners to transform their business models to include more software and services-based recurring revenue and continue to invest in areas that have high growth potential, like managed services, SMB, and cloud marketplaces.

Our managed services are intentionally partner-led and remain a pivotal growth avenue for Cisco partners. Partners can also capture growth from the SMB segment by taking advantage of our new low-touch, scalable partner-ready managed offers rightsised for SMBs.

In addition, partners will increasingly need to focus on sustainability as well as expanding their go-to-market strategies to include more multi-partner and cloud marketplace engagements.

What will be the biggest challenges facing your partners in 2024?

Customers have set the bar ever higher on what they expect from their technology investments. Cisco and our partners continue to adapt to customers' changing needs to deliver the outcomes customers are looking for. 

Increasingly, this requires our partners to engage with new and different companies in new ways, to create solutions for new buyers and deliver unique outcomes for our shared customers.   Partners who invest in managed and as-a-service motions and build on Cisco's platforms and technology to create unique and differentiated offers will be better equipped to deliver customer outcomes and capture more software and services-based recurring revenue. 

In what ways do you use your role to build equity and inclusion?

I'm committed to fostering equity and inclusion within our partner ecosystem. I work to ensure that diversity is embraced by promoting inclusive policies, actively seeking partnerships with underrepresented groups, and providing equal opportunities for all.

I've implemented training and mentorship programmes aimed at empowering diverse voices within our partner community. By actively listening to and engaging with partners from various backgrounds, I aim to create a more inclusive and equitable channel where everyone feels valued, empowered, and represented, thereby enriching our collective experience and driving innovation.

How is your company working to build equity and inclusion within the channel?

Cisco works across our ecosystem to support inclusion and equity and deliver social impact through purpose-based actions with our partners.

This work includes our Ally Partner initiative, which supports a sponsorship culture across Cisco, our partners, and customers. Talent Bridge, our free, easily accessible platform, connects qualified job seekers with curated opportunities across our diverse ecosystem of employers.

Partnering for Purpose, partners can collaborate with us and share their best practices, leveraging assets designed to help them execute their own initiatives to tackle issues that matter most to them, their employees, and their communities. 

What are your biggest channel goals for 2024?

In 2024, we are aiming to revamp our existing channel programme, improve partner profitability and increase the amount of recurring revenue going through partners.

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