Cisco Partners Program To Undergo Major Transition

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In an attempt to attract new partner types, the networking giant, Cisco is making drastic changes to its existing Cisco Partner Program.

At Cisco Partner Summit 2014, the company announced that the new program will be renamed as Cisco Partner Ecosystem. Cisco’s partners will be completing the whole transition in next 16-24 months to the new requirements.

This ecosystem is all about attracting new partner types (like ISVs, consultants) enticing those partners to create solutions and putting them on Cisco’s Marketplace. The company has introduced various Certifications, Specializations and Incentives programs, says a company’s press release.

Certifications: Cisco is streamlining our certification structure to better enable partners to differentiate and invest in their Cisco practice.

Gold: Customers requiring IT solutions to be delivered both “on-prem” and via the cloud. The Gold certification, which remains strongest “breadth” brand, will require partners to embrace a hybrid IT business model. Partners will need to show they actively sell a minimum of four cloud/managed service offers spanning:

•Cisco Powered Cloud Services, like Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS)

•Cisco Cloud Services, like Cisco WebEx, Cisco Meraki, Cisco Cloud Web Security (Scansafe)

•Any partner-created Cisco-based managed service, or, any of the 11 Cisco Powered Managed Service offers, including managed services for Data Center, Collaboration and Security.

In addition to four CCIEs, to help partners reach new buying centers, Gold partners will need to have a Cisco Business Value Practitioner on staff. Partners will continue to be required to hold four Cisco Advanced Architecture Specializations, including the new Security and Enterprise Networks Architecture Specializations.

Premier and Select: Premier certification requirements will also expand to include hybrid IT. Specifically, partners will need to have one cloud/managed service offer as well as a Cisco Express or Advanced Architecture Specialization. Select certification will remain Cisco’s entry level for partners who want to leverage Cisco’s registration incentive program to grow their business in the midsize market.

Retiring Silver: Based on partner feedback, Cisco will retire the Silver designation on April 1, 2016. Silver partners can choose to increase their breadth and become Gold Certified or increase their depth to become Master Specialized. Alternatively, they may choose to move to Premier Certification which will allow partners to enjoy the benefits they have earned while meeting the growing demand for hybrid cloud solutions.

Global Commerce: Cisco is recognizing the world is flatter and we are simplifying our global and multination certification requirements as a result. We have also implemented changes to our Global Partner Network (GPN) program to simplify transactions with global customers. For example, we’ve simplified the deal registration process in GPN, which makes it easier to register and transact deals with customers that have a global footprint.

Specializations: Cisco is enhancing its specializations portfolio to help partners create more value for their customers with business outcome skills, and to differentiate themselves in the market. Specializations will continue to focus on “depth” – spanning Master, Advanced and Express.

o Two new Master Specializations: Enterprise Networks and Service Provider Technology (SPT)

o Solutions Specializations, including Flexpod, VSPEX/Vblock, Desktop Virtualization, EnterpriseMobility, and Cisco TeleHealth that help you differentiate your solution practice and capitalize on our connected ecosystem partnerships.

Incentives: Cisco is simplifying and enriching incentive programs to better recognize and reward partner value, and protect their investment.

• Bringing Incentive Programs Together: A new single deal registration process will be launching in the second half of 2014 that will bring independent up-front discount incentives under one umbrella called the Cisco Deal Registration Program. This will make it easier for partners to apply for incentives and be rewarded for their full value – one place, one time, all stackable.

• Registered Deal Differential: Incentives and rewards will continue to be based on the investments and value partners add. Partners who register deals with Cisco will qualify to receive a discount differential of up to 8 discount points, an increase of 60% over the current discount, even on non-standard deals.

“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 Bruce Klein, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Partner Organization.

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