Can you believe it’s almost been six months since Partner Summit 2017?! During last year’s Partner Summit, we talked about how we are evolving our Partner Programs to be more streamlined and focused on addressing the new market transitions we’re seeing today.

This week we are in the Bahamas at Partner Connection Week, Cisco’s flagship mid-year partner event focused on partner technology enablement. Today we are sharing our progress on the partner programs we announced at last year’s Partner Summit. I am excited to announce a few new programs updates that will help you not only increase your ability to differentiate and showcase your expertise in intent-based networking capabilities, but to also augment the areas where we recognize your industry expertise.

To kick things off, let’s start off with something partners can start being rewarded for now, Master Networking Specialization.

NEW! Master Networking Specialization

We all know the network is evolving and becoming more complex and vulnerable to the numerous threats attacking it every day. In fact, by 2020 IDC predicts we will be adding one million new devices to the Internet every hour!

This advancement in technology gives you an advantage. You have the opportunity to show customers your network expertise by giving them the missing ingredient they have been looking for and help set them up for success today and in the future. Not only that, you can offer your customers more than just your technology—you can offer them reassurance. Customers want to work with a trusted advisor who understands their business and industry—including having knowledge of specific regulations that govern their industry.

Being a master of the digital network helps you to build more trust with customers, stand out from the competition, and get incentives along the way. Customers are trying to build a future-proof, secure and intelligent network. That’s where your expertise plays a critical role. With your deep knowledge of the network, you can help your customers achieve their business outcomes and redefine the way they do business.

When you earn a Master Networking Specialization, you’re telling customers you have in-depth knowledge of this industry and are recognized as an expert in the marketplace. As a Master Networking Specialized partner, you can: 

  • Earn more recognition for your expertise
  • Get extra discounts, rebates, and rewards
  • Grab new software and service opportunities
  • Build customer loyalty and stickiness with software offerings
  • Establish new recurring revenue streams
  • Be promoted to customers for your expertise on Cisco.com

With the Master Networking Specialization launch, we have an opportunity to revitalize our existing Master programs—using the Master Networking as a blueprint to follow.

A key change we are introducing is flexibility with how you can maintain your Master level. You will now be able to earn points through the year for the work you’re already doing to drive sales. We’ve established a number of ways you can earn points—such as developing customer success stories, activating key features in Cisco products, and offering consultative services. And, if you earn the required amount of points by your anniversary date, you’ll be able to automatically renew your Master Specialization!

We plan on launching the complete, revised Master Specializations by July. In the meantime,become a master of the most advanced digital network on the planet. Learn more about our new Master Networking Specializationand our Master Specializations portfolio.

Adding Industry Expertise

Another change we announced at Partner Summit that is really picking up momentum is Partner Industry Expertise.  Customers want to know you are well-versed in their industry and can cater to their needs. By demonstrating how you bring your Cisco solutions to your customers in a unique way, we can help you win business by setting you apart from your competition.

We are growing our recognition of Industry Expertise designations from Retail, Healthcare, and Manufacturing, to now include Media and Education! In addition, Industry partners who invest in enablement tied to key solutions will earn 50% more Continuous Learning points on eligible offerings! This means that partners who have Industry Expertise recognition will be granted extralearning points—saving you time and resources when renewing your specializations.

You’ve spent years developing knowledge of your industry. Now, boost the return of your knowledge! Show your customers you have the expertise to navigate through the challenges related to their industry. Learn how you can take the first step in promoting yourself as an industry expert by going to our Industry Expertise and applying today.

Together, you and Cisco are a championship team. We are committed to guiding you through this transition, helping you get your customer’s network into the digital age, as well as provide additional opportunities to be recognized for the solutions and skills you’ve worked hard to gain.


Sandra Flinders

Senior Director

Global Partner Programs