As customers race to the cloud, Cisco partners are leading the way, each bringing their unique services and capabilities to solve new challenges.  But this new focus on cloud requires a new skillset for IT professionals.  Partner sellers and architects who are traditionally focused on networks and infrastructure must now learn how to operate in a cloud model.  At the same time, those who have been working with cloud native environments must also learn how to integrate with and leverage traditional networks.  Partners must bridge these two domains to address customer needs.

Enter Softchoice, one of Cisco’s largest Gold partners.  Softchoice has been extremely successful in the hybrid cloud market helping customers with cloud migrations, application modernization, and data modernization.  Their secret weapon: Black Belt Academy.  Black Belt Academy is a simple and uniform enablement framework to upskill partners in selling, deploying, adopting, and supporting Cisco technology.

As Softchoice’s cloud business grew, there was an increased need to onboard new solutions architects and technical sellers.  They also needed go to market selling outcomes.

According to Alex Osorio, Softchoice’s Director of Cisco Strategy and Business Development, “With our business focused on helping customers successfully adopt & consume AWS, Azure, and GCP, it was critical that our teams have an agnostic cloud conversation with their customers.”

We use Black Belt Academy to lead the dialogue because it helps establish this agnostic conversation that helps our sellers get more information from the customer during the discovery process.  We ask customers “What is your journey?”, Black Belt Academy provided a way for us to have that conversation.  It helps us establish more credibility in front of the customer.

With the training being provided by the Black Belt Academy curriculum, our sellers proficiently talk about the customer’s future state. It helps them understand how to position the right product against the customer’s requirements.

One seller in particular was hired right out of a legacy IT role.  He was hesitant to start learning new solutions but then dug into the Black Belt Academy curriculum.  Using Black Belt Academy he was able to reduce his ramp up time from weeks, to days.

Overall, Black Belt Academy gives us a competitive advantage because it helps simplify the customer dialogue in supporting their hybrid cloud strategy.

By leveraging the enablement provided with Black Belt Academy, Softchoice has gained a competitive edge against their peers and is able to provide their team with a “panoramic view” of the technology landscape.  For Softchoice, Black Belt Academy is more than just an enablement platform; Black Belt Academy is the ‘bridge’ between domains and a secret to their continued success.


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Seth Greenlaw

Senior Engineering Manager

Cisco Americas Partner Organization.