The theme of Cisco’s annual Partner Summit conference this year is “Own Your Edge.” I am 100% on board with this idea—that each partner brings their own unique abilities, and value to the market, which results in a thriving ecosystem that delivers diverse solutions for customers.

We can’t decide your strategy for you or dictate what makes you special. But more than ever, our focus is on providing programs that empower and reward you to develop and diversify your capabilities and the solutions you bring to users. At Partner Summit, we are showcasing our new programs that do just that. Simply put, they help you do what you do best.

DevNet Sets You Apart

DevNet is our developer program. It provides the tools and community that developers need to write applications and integrate with Cisco products, platforms, and APIs. DevNet has been growing by leaps and bounds, because new applications are needed to deal with increasing amounts of data and customers’ desire for software to automate more and more network functions across domains and architectures. We have over 9,000 partner companies and over 50,000 partner developers involved in DevNet. They’re creating solutions that, in turn, create business outcomes for customers and competitive differentiation for our partners.

Last spring at Cisco Live, we announced DevNet individual career certifications to propagate the skills needed to create new solutions based on Cisco platforms. Now, partners with staff who are DevNet certified can count that toward their Gold certification requirements.

DevNet individual career certification will become increasingly important because we are announcing the DevNet Specialization for partner practices. As you might expect with all our specializations, you will need well developed business practices, along with a bench of certified technical experts. We will recognize partners who have demonstrated software development capabilities and differentiated business practices in automation, application development, deployment, and security solutions using Cisco technology. We are currently gathering partner input, and we expect it to be ready within this fiscal year.

By encouraging and enabling you to develop these abilities, we are driving the transformation we all need to meet emerging market requirements. And there’s no better way to grow as a Cisco partner than to innovate on top of our widespread platforms. For more information about how DevNet can help you, see Susie Wee’s blog, “Accelerating Partner Success with the new Cisco DevNet Specialization.”

Cisco’s Lifecycle-First Approach Sharpens Your Edge

Among all the transformations Cisco and our partners need to make, delivering more and continuous value throughout the customer’s technology lifecycle is probably the most important. You’ve probably seen our racetrack model and how we engage the customer at every step to make sure they are getting the most out of their solutions. Our recurring value partner programs are key to helping you build a sustainable lifecycle practice.

We start by helping you build new capabilities to interact with customers in new ways, generate ongoing value, and achieve customer business outcomes. At Partner Summit last year, we announced a new Customer Experience Specialization, which went live over the summer. As part of that, we are rolling out training and certifications because Customer Experience involves new roles with expertise and focus on the different parts of the lifecycle.

This year, we’re unveiling two entirely new catalyst programs called Lifecycle Starters. The first one, called Solution Starter, is a package of entitlements, special pricing and products tied to specific offers. You earn them by working with a customer to complete onboarding and implementation activities. Solution Starter is a great way to kick off the lifecycle journey with the customer and position your value-added services to continue helping your customer get the most out of their investments. We are beginning with Solution Starter for Cisco DNA wireless and switching EA suites.

Second, Upgrade Starter Pilot drives upgrades along with the lifecycle and is focused on offers within our “Refresh to the Future” datacenter compute solutions. The beauty of these starter programs is they remove customer barriers to starting the lifecycle journey with you. Not only are you well positioned to continue the journey earning Cisco lifecycle rewards but, more importantly, you are well positioned to deliver your own value-added services to bring forward customer value.

As you progress with your customers, we have designed a new Lifecycle Incentives program that helps your professional services team galvanize customers’ adoption of new software. Today, as part of Lifecycle Incentives, we are announcing a Use Accelerator bonus that rewards you for activating more DNA Center use cases. It’s available now through end of Q3, so act on it soon to propel your lifecycle-first practice.

With a lifecycle-first approach, your customers get results and achieve ROI faster. You win your customers’ loyalty and demonstrate differentiated value they won’t forget.

Looking ahead, you can expect more incentives targeted to new service offers, solution development and activities that drive customer success. I’m not suggesting every partner needs to invent some mind-blowing, world-changing solution. But any partner can use our programs to make their solutions and services better…special…dare I say, edgier?

Current partners can check out all these offers on our Programs Hub on SalesConnect.



Marc Surplus

Vice President, Partner Strategy & Programs

Global Partner Sales