Cisco is transforming its existing channel partner and services programme into new Cisco Partner Ecosystem to better support partners on their way to cloud and help them benefit from market opportunities, it says.
The upgraded Cisco Partner Ecosystem strives to win a broader set of partners, in particular ISVs, consulting firms, technology and Internet of Things partners, it says.
In general terms Cisco Solution Partner Programme, which is a key tenant of its Partner Ecosystem, has been designed to focus on 'solution partners' and approach them in order to bring a wealth of solutions they offer into Cisco's ecosystem.
Though this new scheme the prospective partners will be offered a number of benefits such as an opportunity to develop Cisco's market solutions, which cover hardware, software and service, and an access to Cisco channel and its go-to-market designations.
Also, Cisco sees its channel partners in a new role of trusted advisors focused on business outcomes, new market opportunities with horizontal/vertical solutions and services for solution platforms that will strengthen further partner differentiation.
The new programme will also emphasise the connection between channel partners and solution partners via a dedicated marketplace solutions catalogue.
On top of this, Cisco has also introduced some major changes into its certifications, specialisations and incentives structure.
"The next generation channel program will enable and reward partners for adopting new consumption models and reaching new buying centres, with an emphasis on solutions, hybrid IT, and architectures. Channel partners will see changes across Certifications, Specialisations and Incentives. Partners will generally have 16-24 months to transition to the new requirements," explains Edison Peres, SVP of Worldwide Channels.
The certification structure has been streamlined to help partners better differentiate and invest in their Cisco practice, it says.
Cisco will keep its strongest brand Gold certification as well as Premier and Select, however the company has announced plans to retire its Silver designation starting from April, 2016.
All Gold, Premier and Select will expand and require partners to include hybrid IT business model. As far as Gold is concerned, partners will still need to prove that they sell a minimum of four cloud/managed services offers as well as they will need to have a Cisco Business Value Practicioner on staff and hold four Cisco Advanced Architecture Speclisations, it says.
Premier partners will be required to have one cloud/managed service offer and a Cisco Express or Advanced Architecture Specialisation while Select will remain Cisco's entry level for partners who intend to grow their businesses in the midsize market.
At the same time, Silver partners will be offered to choose between an increase in breadth to become Gold Certified or increase their depth in order to earn Master Specialisation. They will also get an option to move to Premier Certification.
Additionally, Cisco has introduced global and multinational certifications and changes to its Global Partner Network programme to simplify transactions with global customers.
Cisco will continue to focus on 'depth' which is reflected by keeping three levels of specialisations: Master, Advanced and Express. However, the partners will be encouraged to enhance their portfolio to include two new Master Specialisations and new solutions specialisations.
Additionally, in the second half of the year, Cisco plans to launch its Deal Registration Programme which brings discount incentives under one umbrella. The other enhancements involve Registered Deal Differential which offers to partners who register deal with Cisco to qualify to receive a discount differential of up to 8%, a 60% growth. Although the incentives will remain to be based on the investments and value partners add, it says.
"I'm excited about the changes and the opportunities we have ahead. The future is bright for Cisco and our partners - we are making the Internet of Everything possible. As we have in the past, I'm confident our partners will make the necessary transitions to evolve their business models successfully, and together we'll bring even more value to our customers" says Peres.