As we wind down our annual Cisco Partner Summit 2023 event, I want to share some thoughts. As always, it’s been a jam packed few days spent with our amazing partners. Cisco Partner Summit is one of my favorite events because I have the opportunity to connect with so many partners from around the world. I heard feedback on areas where we are hitting the mark – but even more importantly – where we need to do a better job. I take partner feedback very seriously, and my team works to course correct where needed so that we continue to deliver a best-in-class partner program.

I covered a lot in my business impact session, including some big announcements on specializations and how we’re planning to transform our incentives portfolio. If you didn’t attend the live session, I really encourage you to watch the recording, but here are a few key highlights.

Solution Specializations

I’ve been signaling for the past two years that Solution Specializations are the future. We will be retiring the Architecture Specializations and as you know, we started this transition with the Data Center Architectures, which will retire in July 2024.

We are continuing to build out the Solution Specializations portfolio, with the recent launch of the refreshed SMB Specialization. This updated specialization focuses on Cisco’s end-to-end SMB solutions, like Secure SMB and Remote SMB, and is designed to help you drive new business outcomes and recurring revenue in this rapidly growing market.

And, we’re not stopping there. We’re rolling out five more Solution Specializations in 2HFY24:

  • Secure Networking
  • IOT (Industrial and Non-Industrial)
  • Zero Trust
  • Network Security

If you haven’t already, I encourage all partners to look into these specializations as we continue the shift from architectures.

New Incentives

There are more opportunities to earn across the entire incentives portfolio, including in Deal Registration, VIP 42, and CSPP. But I want to call out two important announcements.

Lifecycle Incentives 2.0

I shared a sneak peek of Lifecycle Incentives 2.0 in my session last year at Cisco Partner Summit 2022, and I’m excited to share that it’s now live. The redesigned framework offers partners a richer payout and an optimized and simpler experience. In the new model, partners can earn across Use, Engage, and Adopt – and the earning potential is 3x what it was in Lifecycle Incentives 1.0. There are three offers available today with more rolling out over the next several quarters.

Cisco Partner Incentive

We announced the biggest change to our incentives portfolio in 20 years. We listened to your feedback around the complexity involved in managing individual incentives. You asked us to simplify the way you earn. We heard you. The new Cisco Partner Incentive will combine VIP, Lifecycle Incentives and CSPP into a single integrated incentive. This new incentive will reward all aspects of go-to-market, increase predictable growth, and improve the partner experience. This shift is part of our evolution to be the industry-leading partner program, and it aligns with Cisco’s overall transformation into an as-a-service first company. As always, we will give you plenty of time to adjust, so stay tuned for updates on this exciting transformation.

Like I said, these are just a few of the highlights, but I shared a lot more in my session. Make sure to watch the recording via the Partner Launch Experience so you don’t miss any of the exciting updates. As for my team and myself, we hold ourselves accountable to improve our programs each and every quarter, so Cisco Partners can be as successful as possible.

Watch sessions on-demand at the

Cisco Partner Launch Experience


We’d love to hear what you think. Ask a Question, Comment Below, and Stay Connected with #CiscoPartners on social!

Cisco Partners Facebook  |  @CiscoPartners Twitter  |  Cisco Partners LinkedIn



Marc Surplus

Vice President, Partner Strategy & Programs

Global Partner Sales