Cisco Partners, if you’re like me, not only has your place of work changed recently, your days are spent in ways you could not have imagined a quarter ago. We are grateful that you’re working with us through the challenges we face. You truly are Cisco’s shining stars. That’s why my team and I are working hard on ways we can protect your business, which we will publish on our Supporting Business Continuity page as quickly as we can approve and document updates.

In the meantime, I hope you’re ready for some good news. CRN published their annual Partner Program guide this week. Thanks to you, this is the ninth straight year we have won one of their prestigious Five Star awards. I’m proud to say, for the first time ever, we won three awards:

  • 2020 Five Star – Cisco Channel Partner Program: For our overall portfolio of programs that reward you for investing in your Cisco practice and providing value throughout the customer’s technology lifecycle.
  • 2020 Five Star – Cloud and Managed Services Program: For our recently redesigned program that provides resources so more types and sizes of managed service providers can bring new services to market faster.
  • 2020 Five Star – Perform Plus: For our newest program that focuses on partners who are growing, especially with small and mid-size customers.

Each year, the research team at CRN’s parent, The Channel Company, analyzes partner programs from across the industry. They rate us on factors like “investments in program offerings, partner profitability, partner training, education and support, marketing programs and resources, sales support, and communication.” Based on their evaluation, they tell us we are “among the elite technology suppliers in the IT channel, providing maximum value and support for solution providers.”

I knew that. How do I know it? Because I talk with you, our partners, and I hear you when you say you appreciate the investments we make in you, as well as the strategic thinking that goes into how we structure our programs. I know it because our loyalty rating consistently hovers around 90 percent in surveys. And about 80 percent of you prefer our programs over our competitors’. I can’t thank you enough for your commitment to Cisco. It’s your input that makes our programs excel.

How else do I know it? Because I go to work every day with a small but mighty team of people that put their heart and soul into designing and running programs that drive tens of billions of dollars a year in sales. That’s a big responsibility when you look at it from the 30,000-foot view, but our conversations usually focus on a typical partner or a typical customer and what your experience with Cisco should be. We play out scenarios to think through what the impact of a change in programs is likely to be in a variety of circumstances. We rarely make a change without testing or piloting it with you first. It’s this close-to-the-ground approach that makes us successful.

CRN tells us, “The 5-Star rating is awarded to an elite group of companies that offer solution providers the best of the best in their partner programs.” We strive to live up to that statement every day. I personally want to wish you well. Please be safe, and thank you for your support.



Marc Surplus

Vice President, Partner Strategy & Programs

Global Partner Sales