While The VAR Guy is busy heading off in multiple directions for myriad partner conferences next week, I’m backing him up and making tracks for the Cisco Partner Summit 2012, April 16-19 in San Diego. There’s a lot on my mind and a lot of questions I’m hoping to get answers to, so I’m bringing along two blank reporter notebooks. Here's why.

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) has spent the last year in overhaul mode, trimming its workforce by 6,500 and working hard to crystallize its strategy. And so far, signs are pointing in the right direction: Its UCS business is on track to earn $1 billion in revenues this year (at least, according to The VAR Guy’s math), and Cisco is working hard to lift revenues to become an $80 billion company.

But the channel has everything to do with the company’s ultimate success and failure, and I would be remiss (not to mention a lousy journalist) if I didn’t ask Cisco about its roadmap for its partners and emerging trends.

Specifically, I want to know:
  • Cisco’s Managed Services Partner Program: Surinder Brar, how’s that going? You were part of the core team that overhauled Cisco's managed services partner program a few years ago. Perhaps you've moved on to focus on new initiatives at Cisco. But as you look back on your MSP partner efforts, anything new to report?
  • Cisco Partner Program vs. Partner-Led Strategy: Sanjay Jindal, what’s the difference? Yes, we're all familiar with the overall Cisco partner program. But please explain to me in a bit more detail how the partner-led effort fits into the bigger strategy.
  • Cisco Cloud Partner Program: Susheel Chitre, I know about the three components that make up the program (Cloud Resellers, Cloud Builders and Cloud Services Providers), and Edison Peres told our sister site Talkin’ Cloud the Cloud Builders piece is off to the fastest start. Is that what you’re seeing? Any other trends emerging from the program?
  • Cisco OnPlus: Andrew Sage, How deep is Cisco expecting to move into the managed services space with Cisco OnPlus, and how successful has this service offering been thus far?
  • Cisco UCS: I saw great things at the recent Avnet + Cisco Executive Symposium in February, but I want to know more. Is Cisco banking on its Unified Computing System to be the technology that puts Cisco again at the top of the networking heap? Anyone?
  • Everything Else: Cisco has its fingers in so many pies (albeit not as many as this time last year), I know I’m forgetting something. Clue me in.
So I leave the IBM Smart Cloud Symposium, OpenStack Design Summit and Conference, Synnex Varnex and Oracle’s super-secret superhero gathering to the Man in the Black Fedora and hope for sunny weather in San Diego. Meanwhile, if there’s something you want me to ask the Cisco execs during the event, please let me know. I’ll be the one juggling the notebooks.