For over 25 years, Cisco has built the most robust, partner-led programs in the industry. Last year at Cisco Partner Summit, we focused on our core programs with simplicity and mutual value exchange. This year, I am excited to announce new changes that are fundamentally evolving our programs to align with Cisco’s strategic transition to software and a focus across the lifecycle of your business.

Announcing Business Specializations.

Your financial health is the single most important determining factor of our mutual future success. To help you work with customers across an entire lifecycle, we are transforming our programs to be up to the task. We need to think about how we can help you build practices that go beyond our traditional product and service offers. Together, we have a unique opportunity to help you uncover more top-line growth and greater profitability with our programs portfolio.

Our first new initiative is Business Specializations.

This new category of specializations gives you the opportunity to build and deliver new services around the lifecycle. To work with both hardware and software, this initiative will build on the work Specializations and help you expand into new, untapped areas. We’ll be updating Architecture Specializations, too, so you’re ready with all the new skill sets you need across our solutions.

It all starts with Customer Experience Specialization. 

This will be coming in July of 2019 and it will work across Express, Advanced, and (eventually) Master Specializations.

With this Customer Experience Specialization, we’re building on what we’ve learned from our industry-recognized Lifecycle Advisor program, bringing it into our Competency Program Portfolio, and making it available to every one of our partners.

Right now, the Lifecycle Advisor program is about both competency and incentives. We’ll be expanding that competency portion of the program. Existing incentives aren’t going anywhere—and in the next fiscal year, you’ll see some more of those, too.

This is all still in development; however, here’s how we see this working:

  • You’ll take an online assessment to help us measure where you are today
  • We’ll design a step-by step plan to help you build your practice and uncover new strategies
  • We’ll expose you to different Cisco offers to help you do more, and give you access to more incentives and rewards to help you keep growing your business

This is just a glimpse of what’s to come. So, we’ll keep you updated along the way.

Looking at software—and services—throughout the lifecycle.

Cisco is simplifying and evolving our programmatic structure for recurring revenue and aligning our services incentives with our software incentive strategy.

Services matter as much as software.

As we evolve our portfolio to software, we recognize services are a key part of your business. We want to make things simple for you to keep recurring revenue, therefore we’re announcing our intention to evolve our service-related incentives to an annuity-based model where you will be measured on monthly recurring revenue, growth, and renewals. That way, we can make sure our service incentives line up with our software incentive strategy.

Conceptually, to move services from a performance-based incentive strategy to a more predictable, recurring revenue compensation strategy, we will:

  • Develop annuity-based services portfolio of offers
  • Pay partners for monthly recurring revenue
  • Include bonuses on expanding, renewing a deal, and more

The idea here is that we can integrate an annuity-based portfolio of offers into a simpler incentive structure, specifically customized for services.

New incentives are better for partners and better for profits.

It’s important to understand where we have come since last year’s Partner Summit and the update from those announcements. We have big plans for our Value Incentive Program (VIP), with some particular focus around making it easy to work with Cisco and earn more. Our launch of VIP 33 will simplify activation and increase bonuses to recognize partners who work hard for their customers’ success.

We are fixated on a stronger customer relationships at every step. So, we’re:

  • Adding a Master Networking bonus to align this Specialization with the other Master Specializations
  • Providing a Cisco DNA Center Activation Accelerator bonus for Q2 and Q3 of FY19
  • Simplifying the Activation Proof of Purchase (POP) requirements for Cisco DNA Center
  • Continuing Activation eligibility 9 months after the VIP period ends
  • Exploring adding new offers to the VIP Activation portfolio to accelerate key date center solutions

You can find out more about all of these enhancements to our flagship program at www.cisco.com/go/vip as information comes available. Through simplicity and focusing on the entire lifecycle, I am confident our programs can help all partners evolve and grow with Cisco.

For more details, watch our Impact Session recording for the ins and outs on what’s new and visit our Partner Programs SalesConnect Hub for more information.


Marc Surplus

Vice President, Partner Strategy & Programs

Global Partner Sales