Cisco gets up to date

Cisco lifted its kimono on a “new and improved” partner programme to reveal something its partners have never seen before.

But the company denied that, and said that the new programme includes the best bits of the old one but adds extra elements, incentives and support.

The company said that the new programme is based around four key partner roles: Integrator, Provider, Developer, and Advisor. These changes, Cisco said, will ensure it can better support myriad ways in which partners work with customers in the real-world – be that reselling, offering managing services, developing using their own APIs or acting as trusted advisors.

Announced today at Cisco’s Partner Summit, the changes represent the biggest tweaks to the programme in more than a decade, according to the company.

Cisco’s vice president of Partner Organisation, Elisabeth De Dobbeleer, said: “Cisco has been partner-focused, partner-led for over 25 years. It’s part of our DNA and part of who we are as a company. We have done a big overhaul in two ways. The first is [about] simplification. The other key message is that we are acknowledging the market reality.” Parsed, we think that means it’s a totally new programme.

De Dobbeleer added: “Integrator is almost the traditional partner model for Cisco. Where they resell with partners adding their own value. Cisco wants to double down and enable focus on partner-led consumption of managed services, so we are going to make it simpler and easier to prove the value exchange. A lot of our partners also have very established managed services practices based on our technology, so that is the provider bucket.

“The next one is Developer. That is about acknowledging that a lot of our partners are developing our solutions based on their own APIs. We’re making it bigger and easier to do that. Lastly, we have Advisor]. We have found it difficult to find ways to acknowledge and incentivise. So we will now have funding available for partner-to-partner engagement.”

Cisco says it hopes the new programme will help partners increase agility, profitability, and relevance in the market as it rolls out the changes over the coming 12-18 months.

Alongside the simplification and augmentation of the previous iteration of the scheme, Cisco also used the event to unveil a new Partner Experience Platform (PXP), which will act as a single point of information and support for existing and future partnerships. The new PXP will be available to all partners from the end of November. Its partners were not available for comment.