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The worldwide cloud services market will likely surpass US$109 billion in 2012. What’s more, the cloud services market is a high-growth sector within the overall IT marketplace, a recent Gartner report says. No shock there!

So what are you doing to take advantage of this shift? Cisco is here to help you create demand for your services and market them, too.

Last year, Cisco introduced the Cloud Partner Program. Today, the program has 133 approved Cloud Builders and 46 approved Cloud Providers. Collectively, the 46 Cloud Providers are offering more than 50 Cisco Powered Cloud Services to the market.

Today we’re taking the next step along that path and introducing a Master Cloud Builder Specialization that rewards channel partners who have proven capabilities to build and deploy cloud-ready integrated infrastructures using Cisco solutions and our partner cloud offerings across storage, virtualization, cloud management, and virtual desktop.

Essentially, Cisco is elevating the Cloud Builder role from a designation to a full-blown Master Cloud specialization. (After September 19, 2012, Cisco will no longer accept new enrollments or applications for the Cloud Builder or Cloud Infrastructure designations.)

The new Master Cloud Specialization comes with differentiated branding and incremental financial incentives, too. With this new specialization partners can create competitive differentiation and facilitate a new generation of IT and cloud services. We talked to Susheel Chitre who is the Director of Cloud and OEM Business Development at Cisco, and he told us some more ways that Cisco is helping partners help themselves and customers.

“We help partners differentiate services and offer support to help you build and sell unique solutions to customers so they can select the right cloud model and solution for their networks,” he said.

We’re not only helping you differentiate and build new services, we’re giving you new tools to help you market your solutions directly from Cisco’s web site. How’s that? Keep reading. 

You heard right: we’re helping Cisco’s Cloud Builder and Cloud Provider partners market and promote Cisco cloud-based solutions and services.

Today we’re launching the Cisco Cloud Partner Marketplace, a new interactive resource that gives you a space on cisco.com to post your own videos, collateral, promotions, and offers so you can speak directly to Cisco customers and Cisco field teams.

Partners participating in Cloud Partner Marketplace can design their own microsite within this online environment. I had a chance to chat with partners ePlus and SIGMAnet about the new marketplace and get their initial thoughts.

“I’m really excited to see Cisco providing syndicated content capability so we can own, manage, and drive our content on a microsite,” said Jerry McIntosh, Vice President, Advanced Technology Sales at Cisco Gold and Managed Services Master partner ePlus. “It’s kind of a no brainer: we have a Cisco Solutions Showcase on our site and why wouldn’t we want to be showcased on Cisco’s site?”

Neil Wada Chief Operating Officer at SIGMAnet, a Cisco Master Unified Communications and Master Security partner, notes that the new Marketplace will be a great place for the company to show its wares. “The challenge with marketing is ROI vs. effort,” he said. “Branding and awareness are key today. [The Marketplace is] exciting, and though I’m not sure what will come of it, I’m sure it will be hot.”

Cisco customers will be able to access these microsites to help them understand the Cisco-based cloud capabilities and solutions offered by our partners.

Features of the Cloud Marketplace include:

“[The Cisco Marketplace] is a single one-stop-shop to look for the right partner, the right service, in the right region,” Susheel said.

Learn more about these Cisco Cloud Master Specialization and Marketplace announcements and be sure to register for a live webcast on October 4 to get answers to your questions, download Cisco’s new Cloud Catcher Kits and other demand-generation resources, and discover all that’s possible with Cisco.

Partners, what do you think? Are you going for the Master Cloud Specialization? Why or why not?

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