At the recent Cisco Partner Summit, Cisco unveiled two major program changes for our partners: the new Cisco Partner Ecosystem and the evolution of the Cisco Developer Network (CDN) into the Solution Partner Program. In the wake of these announcements, I wanted to take a moment to share the logic behind these changes, why they are occurring now and how they relate to partners.

It’s important to distinguish that the CDN has evolved to become the Solution Partner Program; this was not an overnight switch. The former Developer Network community was comprised of individual developers and partner companies developing integrated Cisco solutions. The new Solution Partner Program brings the partner company component of CDN into the Cisco Partner Ecosystem. This allows us to more clearly identify the relationship with our valued solution partners recognizing them formally as Cisco partners and an important pillar of the overall Partner Ecosystem.

Prior to this change, we spoke with our partners around the world and asked them, “Are you hearing anything about business applications or the need for them, from customers – or are we the only ones seeing these requests?” Ninety percent of the time, every person in the room would nod “Yes, we are hearing the same thing!” The next question we asked was, “Would you be interested in working with the companies that are building these applications and the technology that supports them?” To which the answer was almost always, “Yes. Who are they, where are they and how can I start working with them?”

If Cisco were to attempt to build every product and application customers ask for, we would never be able to do it. It would be much too expensive, time-consuming and simply not a viable option.

But as one of the most recognized and valuable brands in the world, we are uniquely positioned to be able to foster partnerships with development companies and connect them with our channel partners to deliver the solutions and products that customers want. We want our solution partners to become advocates for Cisco technology and, at the highest level, brand ambassadors. Our mission is to identify, recognize and encourage companies and developers who build products and software that complement Cisco products.

This is where the Solution Partner Program – and the new Partner Ecosystem – comes into play.

We recognize that our partners provide significant value. With the Solution Partner Program, we can certify third-party solutions that have met Cisco’s rigorous compatibility requirements. The benefit of this is two-fold. First, our verification reduces the risk and cost for customers because they know Cisco assurance is behind a company. Secondly, our support enables us to create a relationship with partners that are producing valuable solutions for our joint customers.

The new Solution Partner Program consists of three tiers – Solution Partner, Preferred Solution Partner and Strategic Solution Partner – each of which have specific benefits. However, the core benefits for all tiers include Cisco’s support and promotion of verified solutions that can be taken to market quickly, broadly and with a high-level association to the Cisco brand.

As we continue to build out this rich, robust portfolio of solutions, Cisco continues to become more relevant for customers because we’re arming our channel partners with business solutions that are supported and backed by Cisco. In turn, we become increasingly relevant for partners by adding value and connecting them with other members of the overall Partner Ecosystem, increasing opportunities for them as well.

The goal of the Solution Partner Program is to ensure that all members are getting the support and recognition they deserve. We want partners like you to see how we’re growing and evolving the program to your benefit.

To our amazing Cisco Developer Network community: Welcome to the Solution Partner Program. We consider you partners of Cisco and an integral component to the Partner Ecosystem. Our future is dependent on your success. Thank you for your partnership and ongoing commitment to Cisco. Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments section.


Arjun Lahiri

Global Director

Partner Strategy and Programs