In the beginning.

When distribution joined the global family of Black Belt Academies in April 2020, our vision was simple – establish a single framework to bring relevant training in Cisco solutions to our distribution partners.  Our goal was to curate relevant learning journeys that would help distributors focus on what was most important for them to know while maximizing their time.

To support that vision, our strategy was to make content king.  A team of high-energy, dedicated people across multiple functional roles, took to the task of evaluating a mammoth amount of available assets and learning materials to sort out what would be of most value to our distribution partners.  As those early months passed, small changes found their way into our user experience.  More content was added.  New badges emerged.  And our numbers grew.  By the end of the first quarter of this fiscal year, we had awarded 5400 badges to distributor technical, sales, marketing, CX and operations specialists around the world.

Even though our growth continued, we weren’t satisfied that we were yet the “best of the best”.  And so, in early October, we started marching toward the biggest transformation yet – across experience, platform and content.  This time around our strategy was not so much “content is king”, but that content and experience had to come together as the pinnacle of our execution.  It wasn’t just about what you could learn, but also how you would learn it.

We asked. You spoke.

In order to turn that strategy into a successful execution, we asked questions and we listened.  What was working for you?  What wasn’t?  What did you need?  What was missing?  How could we keep you coming back?  These were some of the questions we asked, and your feedback was invaluable.  What has emerged is not just a simple, single learning platform with relevant content, but also a learning platform that is engaging, robust and supports the ongoing learning required for continued growth.

From good to great.

Today, we’re announcing, the new Black Belt Distribution Academy! With this new launch, we’re taking a good learning experience and making it great!  Here are a few content highlights:

  • Stage 1 badge journey now customized to your role. New content in Stage 1 includes IoT, SMB, and Contact Center.
  • New Stage 2 badges for IoT Sales and Technical, SMB Sales, Contact Center Sales and Technical, Advanced Marketing, Operations and MSP Technical
  • New Solution Competencies in Stage 2 for SASE, Hybrid Work, FSO, and Hybrid Cloud – content that correlates to the new Solution Specializations for Partners
  • A new section focused on topics related to Practice Building that will soon become your one-stop shop for software, routes-to-market, lifecycle, partner management and partner specialization content.

And of course, all of this new learning content will come wrapped in a shiny new user experience that’s easy to navigate, simple and intuitive. Need to know exactly what to do to earn a Sales Specialist Stage 1 badge?  There’s a button for that.  One button.  Not 6 or 8 or 10.  Just one.  Need to know what’s required to earn a Sales Specialist Stage 2 badge?  There’s a button for that, based on what competency area you’re interested in.  Just one button links you to the pre-requisites, the required Stage 2 content, and the quiz needed to earn your badge.  Simple and intuitive.

Coming together to be the “best of the best”.

All of us involved in this major launch are excited to share the new content and experience with you, our Distributors, and hope you’ll let us know what you think!  If you’ve not visited Black Belt Distribution Academy in a while, come back and check us out!  If you’ve already earned a badge or two, come earn one of the newer ones, like IoT or SMB.  And if you’ve never used Black Belt Distribution Academy, there’s no better time to start than now!

Take a step on your learning journey with our new world-class learning experience.  Let’s come together in Black Belt Distribution Academy and be the “best of the best” for our partners and our customers with training that counts!


Visit Black Belt Distribution Academy today!


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Cindy Field

Senior Channel Programs and Business Development Manager