Cisco has unveiled plans to consolidate more than a dozen separate partner programs into one single program during the next 12-18 months, forming part of a channel overhaul designed to simplify go-to-market engagement.
Unveiled during Partner Summit Digital, the initiative - under the banner of New Cisco Partner Program - will provide opportunity for partners to differentiate across multiple areas of the vendor’s portfolio, from resell to managed services, as well as developer and advisory practices.
Representing the “biggest changes in over a decade”, the modernisation efforts are anchored around four key partner roles; Integrator, Provider, Developer and Advisor.
Partners will be able to select one role - or all four - depending on specialisation levels and market priorities, shaped by Gold, Premier and Select ranking tiers. Crucially however, current Cisco partners “will not be asked to start over” upon launch of the new program, with the framework designed to reflect current ecosystem expertise.
“Transformation is accelerating now more than ever before and we need our programs and platforms to reflect how Cisco and our partners can best succeed together," said Oliver Tuszik, senior vice president of Global Partner Organisation at Cisco. "These changes will deliver simplicity and allow Cisco and our partners to be more agile, relevant, and profitable. It's about being ‘future-ready' for anything that comes our way."
According to Tuszik - when addressing the channel remotely during the conference - the change is designed to provide agility for partners serving customers in different ways; “Cisco is not putting partners in a box or limiting their ability to showcase their unique value.”
Instead, the vendor is attempting to increase technology provider relevance by “elevating roles” beyond the traditional resale approach, backed by heightened focus on managed services, development and advisory capabilities.
From a programmatic standpoint, value-based incentives and benefits are aligned to key metrics, which span the entire customer lifecycle, are custom fit to “transaction modality” and support partner practice building”.
Customer Experience Specialisation - triggered by an ability to provide “recurring value” - will also be aligned to recognition, counting towards both Integrator and Provider roles as well as becoming a requirement for Gold Integrator status by late 2021.
“2020 and the pandemic greatly accelerated the need for our partners to transform to deliver managed services and SaaS [software-as-a-service] to lines of business, to develop applications and automation on top of Cisco platforms and to generate full customer value across the lifecycle,” added Marc Suplus, vice president of Strategy, Planning and Programs at Cisco.
“We are taking a bold step to break down the siloes partners feel between our various partner programs that will give our partners more freedom to differentiate and transform across the dimensions of their Cisco business.”
Also set to launch is Partner Experience Platform (PXP), a digital platform to support partners during the lifecycle process, enhancing experience levels and allowing opportunity to “co-innovate and co-sell” with Cisco.
PXP will house more than 100 tools, applications and portals in a single digital platform, supported by accelerated enrolment processes and on-boarding, performance monitoring offerings and benchmarking capabilities.
“We co-innovated and co-developed PXP with our partners, to deliver a future ready platform,” said Jose van Dijk, vice president of Operations and Partner Performance at Cisco. “Our focus is to reimagine the digital channel and to empower partners with digital agility across the entire partner lifecycle.”