News

Shock and Awe at Cisco's Channel Partner Summit

At its Partner Summit last week in San Diego, Cisco Systems Inc. announced a major restructuring of its Channel Partner Program.

Cisco says its revamped channel partner program will reward partners who invest time and effort to develop technology depth sufficient to deploy advanced security services, Unified Communications applications, and other specialized solutions. Cisco isn't telling tales out of school about rewards, real or imagined, either: The networking giant announced what it claims is the industry's first "offer-based" channel strategy, which comprises three new channel partner programs designed to assist and reward partners who deliver global resale, outsourcing and managed network service offerings to customers.

Cisco positions the new remunerative programs as complements to its existing Channel Partner Program, which (officials claim) is structured primarily to encourage local resale offerings. "While the overall framework and structure of the Cisco channel partner program is not changing, we are adding new requirements to our current partner program and adding new categories of support for the growing diversity of channel partner business models. The changes focus on three areas we believe will be crucial to the mutual success of Cisco and its channel partners," said Keith Goodwin, Cisco senior vice president for Worldwide Channels, in an in-house interview published on Cisco's Web site. "We want to help partners build the breath of their skills for integrating multiple Cisco technologies, develop greater depth of expertise in advanced technologies and applications, and create more sophisticated services capabilities for helping customers design and manage increasingly complex networks."

Cisco officials say the revamped program will focus on helping channel partners meet customer demands for technology skills breadth, technology skills depth, and lifecycle services capabilities.

With respect to the former, Cisco says Silver and Premier Certified Partners must be able to deliver networking solutions with integrated security; WLAN; routing; LAN switching; and, optionally, Unified Communications. Cisco says next-gen Gold Certified Partners must have the capacity to deliver "the highest level of integrated infrastructure capability" in all five segments.

As for delivering advanced technology skills depth, Cisco says its specializations will now reflect a partner's depth of expertise in a particular technology. To that end, it's offering three tiered specialization levels in which partners must demonstrate superior sales, technical and service capabilities for each respective level: Express, Advanced and Master. The new Master Specialization brand recognizes partners with the highest-qualified practice in a given technology and helps partners further differentiate their businesses. Cisco says it will launch its first master specializations (the Master Unified Communications Specialization and the Master Security Specialization) over the next year. Initially, it plans to make six core specializations available: Express Foundation (Security, Wireless LAN, and Routing and Switching), Express Unified Communications, Advanced Unified Communications, Advanced Security, Advanced Wireless LAN, and Advanced Routing and Switching.

Finally, the new Channel Partner program incorporates Cisco's Lifecycle Services approach to help partners successfully deploy, operate and optimize Cisco solutions. Cisco says channel partners will have until March 2008 to complete the transition to the enhanced program requirements.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.

Featured

comments powered by Disqus
Most   Popular

Office 365 Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.