Bringing Cisco SaaS To Life With Brad Bonin
Brad Bonin is the VP of Systems Engineering for Global Collaboration Sales at Cisco where he’s spent the last 20+ years across various sales engineering roles.
His experience includes:
- Routing and switching
- CCIE #4454
His team has expertise in the areas of cloud SaaS services including contact center, calling, meetings, messaging, CPaaS, API/SDK, and Webex Graph.
Brad’s organization also focuses on building SaaS tools and developing prototype integrations. The team leverages design thinking principles to engage with customers to enhance their API/SDK capabilities across Cisco and third-party cloud services.
The team focuses on building an agile SaaS sales motion for Cisco collaboration. Today, Webex operates as a pure SaaS model.
Only a few years back, Cisco resellers, partners, and customers had to submit a form and run through an entire procurement cycle in order to experience Webex services. Today, the process to enable a full cloud trial takes just minutes rather than days.
Brad says that people like Justin Ramirez and his team look after the integration and partner ecosystem—perhaps the most concerted partner effort among any of the leading collaboration vendors.
“Many of the apps in our ecosystem like Slido and Involvio have turned into acquisitions.”
The integration and interoperability focus at Webex is like no other collaboration player in the market.
Webex interop with competing platforms
Webex is interoperable with Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom in a messaging capacity when Mio is installed.
When you install the Mio app and sync your teams and users, everyone can chat cross-platform.
Webex is also interoperable with Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Meet, and other video platforms in a video conferencing capacity.
“It’s rapidly changed our position. We’ve been pushing this really hard in the last year.”
Brad says that CIOs’ biggest problem they’re trying to solve is “How do I give everyone the ability to walk into a meeting room and use whatever tool customers and partners are using?”
“If they have Zoom, Google, Microsoft Teams on their computers but want to connect via a Webex device, we now enable that.”
Brad also adds that, only a year ago, it was very hard to do that. Now, Webex is selling more devices because of its interoperability with both partners and competitors.
Interoperability is very much a part of hybrid work. A big change to collaboration technology in the past.
Collaboration technology changes
Brad says the biggest change has been how customers want to consume the technology. For Cisco, it’s all about recurring revenue and consumerization.
“We’ve gone from having to influence the IT Manager to getting feedback from every employee.”
On operating in this different space for Cisco, Brad says this can only be a positive thing. It’s less about the first dollar made from the customer and more about delivering value long term.
“We care more about our customers using and loving our product.”
The sales cycle is also changing the way Webex builds products and features. Unlike the legacy sales model where a salesperson hands off a new client as soon as the contract is signed, it’s all about the whole customer experience.
“We want our customers to love our products and be our biggest advocates.”
That requires a commitment to lifetime value with sales, engineering, customer success, and support working as one team.
You can now buy a primary Webex video solution without needing to use the Webex app. By uncoupling the technology from the app, Webex is in a unique CPaaS-esq part of the market where best-in-class video conferencing can power whatever video service is needed and whatever the front end needs to be.
“You shouldn’t need a software developer to do this. Webex makes that happen.”
What is the future of Webex?
Creating an inclusive future for all is the key message at Webex. Abhay Kulkarni, GM of Webex, said the same, unprompted, when Mio interviewed him.
Brad says it truly reflects the culture of the company and the belief that collaboration technology is a critical component for providing human connections.
“Webex will evolve into a platform that provides a modern software stack for however people need to communicate.”
The key will be remaining an open, modern, and interoperable platform. Making sure all people (not just developers) can leverage the intricacies of this platform is important.
“It’s for the CMO, it’s for the trainers, it’s for the users. It’s a higher order than just a meetings platform.”
In the past, Brad says collaboration has been about the head: phone calls, messages, scheduling meetings.
Now, it’s about the heart.
Making a meaningful connection with one another that is lasting and productive is the future of Webex.