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Channel Vision – Clive Hailstone

1 What was your greatest challenge in 2017?

Clive Hailstone, MD UK&I, Comstor
Clive Hailstone, MD UK&I, Comstor

The year that SDN came to the fore? Enabling, educating and empowering partners to engage with SDN, virtual worlds and service consumption can be challenging for those whose business model is built around hardware. Cisco’s Network Intuitive strategy redefines the boundaries even more.

2 What was your greatest achievement in 2017?
Getting closer to customers, being able to add greater value and build loyalty. This requires commitment as well as innovation and, despite exiting a period of transition early in the year, we were able to do what we do best, commit more to our customers.

3 What were the key growth areas for you in 2017?
Being Cisco-dedicated means we are at the sharp end of new and emerging technologies. Security was a major growth area, as customers looked for more end-to-end, easier to manage solutions. We have also seen a surge in software and annuity services, reflecting how the world increasingly views technology.

4 Any lessons learned in 2017?
Not so much learned as reinforced. Always, always stay close to customers and build trust. It’s mutually beneficial in the long term.

5 What is your main focus for 2018?
No surprise here. Customers. We’ll continue to invest in and develop services that allow our customers to get closer to their customers and embrace emerging technologies. Security will remain high on the agenda as the stakes online are raised.

6 Reasons to be optimistic about 2018?
Our ERP platform provides new opportunities for partners around cloud and services and enables greater integration and automation. Despite the uncertainties in the world, the pace of digital change shows no sign of abating, and I’m optimistic that we can help partners really benefit from all the opportunities this provides.

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