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New Architectural Specializations for Cisco Partners: Borderless, Data Center, Collaboration

At Partner Summit 2011, Edison Peres, SVP WW Channels, described architectures as being the house, with individual solutions being the rooms in that house.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BbVPCavN1U

Today we are evolving our channel partner program with architecture specializations: Borderless Networks Architecture Specialization, Collaboration Architecture Specialization, and Data Center Architecture Specialization.

Architectures present massive opportunities for Cisco and its channel partners – borderless networks alone have a $49 billion total addressable market opportunity in FY11, collaboration $35 billion in CY11, and data center/virtualization is $42 billion in FY11.

To capture market opportunities that lie ahead, we must evolve towards architectures together.  And here’s how we’ll do it.

Key to our mutual growth strategy will be our ability to build a channel with architectural selling capacity and capabilities to drive innovation, differentiation, and transformation.
Within the last year, we have made major advancements in providing the programs, tools, training, and resources to help partners accelerate the adoption of Cisco architectures.

1. Collaborative Professional Services:
Assists channel partners to expand their services practices and profitability across Cisco’s three enterprise architectures: Borderless Networks, Collaboration, and Data Center/Virtualization.

2. Smart Business Architecture:
Offers partners a blueprint for designing and deploying a full-service, comprehensive network to support midsize and enterprise business technology architectures. Learn more.

3. Architecture Partner Marketing Kits:
Offer everything a partner needs to bring Borderless Networks, Collaboration and Data Center/Virtualization solutions to customers, helping position the architectures and drive demand. Learn more.

Today’s news introduces advanced-level architecture specializations, creating a new class of specialization that broadens the partners’ role through courses specific to each architecture area.

This is our chance to drive profits and mutual success through top-down selling. Customers want architectures and these new roles with new certifications reflect that thinking.

Below I’ll answer some top-of-mind questions about today’s announcement:

What is the cost?

As a commitment to our partners and their profitability, we have reduced the cost of certifications and decreased the number training hours. For a new Gold Certification, the cost has been reduced by approximately $50,000, and the total training hours have been reduced by up to 25%.

Are these new specializations required?

Beginning in August 2012, partners must attain all three architecture specializations in order to achieve Cisco Gold Certification. Cisco Silver Certified Partners will be required to have a minimum of one architecture specialization, and Cisco Premier Certified Partners can have either one of the architecture specializations or the Cisco Express Foundation Specialization to achieve certification status beginning in August 2012. The architecture specializations do not become a mandatory requirement for certifications until a partner’s anniversary date beginning August 2012 through July 2013.

How long do we have to transition?

To ensure a smooth recertification process, we are providing an ample transition period of 16 to 28 months.

What is the impact to an existing Gold Partner?

The impact varies depending on their current specializations.

1) For a partner who has an Advanced UC specializations, in order to achieve the Collaboration Architecture specialization, they would only need 14 hours of incremental eLearning (which is free) and the cost of exams, about $300.

2) For partners who already have the Data Center Networking Infrastructure and Data Center Storage Networks, the incremental investment to attain Data Center Architecture is 96 hours and $7000.

Cisco is also offering up to $5,000 in Cisco Learning Credits for each of the first 500 partners to complete the recertification process.

As a partner, how do I benefit by transitioning to the new architecture specializations.

The new Cisco architecture specializations recognize and build on our partners’ capabilities. They will help enable our partners to evolve their business, drive profitable growth, and become more relevant to their customers. The architecture specializations will improve the opportunity for partners to attach high-value professional services and help meet changing customer, technical, and service market demands.

Read the full news release here.
Thank you for your partnership. I welcome your thoughts and feedback in the comments.

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