My friend Lindsay Hill wrote about the potential negative sides of joining an
ambassador program. Lindsay brings up lots of valid points. My response here is
to explain why I’m in one, which might not be obvious from the outside looking in.
Both Lindsay and I are CCIEs. Going after that certification is not something you
are going to do unless you find that vendors products to be of acceptable quality.
As a CCIE if I have two comparable products at the same price and one of them is Cisco,
then I’m going to lean towards Cisco.
If the Cisco device does not match the requirements or if there is a big difference in
price then I’m not going to promote the Cisco device at all costs. I’m a professional and
I’m expected to to know my way around HP, Huawei or whatever comes in my way.
I’m not afraid to speak up if I find something negative about Cisco, however the best
result is usually achieved by trying to find the right channels to bring up your issues.
Blindly writing stuff on Twitter is less likely to get any attention.
Why I’m a Cisco Champion
Let’s be honest, it’s always nice being recognized. It’s human behaviour. If I were
to list the reasons why I’m in the program though it would look something like this:
- Earlier access to news about products/events
- My contact list within Cisco is growing
- The chance to actually affect what Cisco puts out on the market
- The chance to interact with other champions and pick their brains
How does that help my clients?
I’m a senior network consultant and I spend a lot of time working on Cisco. By
knowing more about what’s going on inside Cisco I can give better advice to my
clients. Obviously a lot of stuff is under NDA so I can’t talk to my clients about
By having a bigger contact list I can reach out to people when I am facing issues.
I also have a chance to influence people within Cisco to bring up these issues
internally which could lead to a bug fix or a new software version.
I agree with Lindsay’s thoughts. In the end it’s up to the person joining if it’s
worth the benefits and if you can stay neutral. Personally I would never advocate
a Cisco solution if I think there are better options out there for my clients.
If you are in doubt you should ask your consultant to explain why they are
choosing vendor X over vendor Y. If they can’t motivate it, then they are out
on thin ice indeed.