HONOLULU, (Cisco Partner Summit) 2008, April 9, 2008 - Highlighting its commitment to accelerate its channel partners' growth, Cisco today launched several talent innovations, including its next-generation partner talent platform, the Partner Talent Network. This new platform uses advanced social networking capabilities and interactive video to transform how channel partners attract, develop and retain employees.
"As I meet and talk with partners around the world, they consistently tell me, regardless of location, that their top growth issue is attracting, developing and retaining talent," said Celia Harper-Guerra, director of Worldwide Partner Talent at Cisco. "This global feedback is the foundation of our talent strategy, which was validated in a recent study we commissioned in North America. That study identified hiring skilled sales and technical talent as the top barriers to growth in the IT channel."
With more than 80 percent of its annual revenue being sold by channel partners, helping preempt a skills shortage is a major business imperative and one in which Cisco is investing substantial time, money and resources. Cisco invested early on, more than 18-months ago, to work to enhance the validity of its primary route to market. The company's new talent-building initiatives include:
Partner Talent Network: Scheduled to launch in second quarter of calendar 2008, the Partner Talent Network sets a new standard in the industry and will serve as the foundation for a global Cisco talent solution. Web 2.0 collaboration capabilities will foster better communication between employer and candidate, while the use of interactive video will eliminate the need for text resumes and job postings. Replacing the existing Partner Talent Portal, the new platform will provide targeted candidate matching, interactive talent maps and personal branding capabilities as well as career-exploration tools for students and candidates anywhere in the world, significantly expanding the talent pools that Cisco can connect its partners with.
Recruitment Services Solutions: Through this new initiative, channel partners that have difficulty finding experienced talent can supplement their strategies by using recruitment firms who specialize in IT networking talent. Moreover, they can do so at a Cisco negotiated reduced rate. In some cases this rate is nearly 50 percent lower than the pre-negotiated rate. This talent recruitment solution is currently available in the United States, Canada, Europe, the emerging markets and Asia Pacific through a variety of relationships.
Professional Career Accelerator: Today's employees require a sophisticated blend of professional, technical and business skills. This new partner-development program provides critical on-the-job training focused on professional and business skills aligned to Cisco technologies. The channel partner can thus assess employee talent as well as receive guidance on creating a development plan customized to an individual's skills. This program also uses job-role playbooks, allowing the channel partner to set the development pace and cost based on its needs and the needs of the new hire.
Talent Pool Connections: Expanding the pools of qualified talent to which Cisco can connect its channel partners is critical to addressing the global IT skills gap. Cisco recently added the Cisco® Networking Academy® Alumni Association of more than 200,000 active registered graduates and the Cisco Career Connections Web site, which receives roughly 20,000 resumes per month, to the list of qualified talent to whom Cisco is connecting its partners.
Study Echoes Global Partner Feedback
The North American study commissioned by Cisco and conducted by the Institute of Partner Education and Development, provider of channel intelligence through world's largest solution provider databank, garnered a 97 percent confidence rating. Thirty-four percent of the respondents said that hiring additional qualified employees was key to growing company sales and capacity with 48 percent ranked the hiring of technical talent and 34 percent ranked the hiring of sales talent as difficult.
"As a company that focuses on delivering technology solutions to banks and credit unions we have very specific talent needs and without qualified people with industry knowledge our ability to grow is hindered," said Dan Holt, co-founder and CEO of Heit, Inc., a Cisco Premier Certified Channel Partner. "Cisco understands this issue because it listens to its partners like no other company in the industry, but perhaps more importantly it is taking action and addressing the issue aggressively with us."