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Opening the Door for Partners to Capture New Opportunities in Software and Cloud

April 28, 2015 - 1 Comment

Be Bold. That was the message that kicked off Cisco Partner Summit in fabulous Montreal. Our fearless leader John Chambers talked about Cisco’s bold ambitions to capture the unparalleled market opportunities created by digitization and the Internet of Everything. Then Bruce Klein outlined our bold vision of rallying a broad ecosystem of partners to capture these opportunities together.

Cisco’s bold visions aren’t just talk. As Henry Fold once warned: “Vision without execution is just hallucination.” We’re igniting the Cisco Partner Ecosystem around software and cloud. Today, Cisco introduced new and evolved partner programs designed to help partners build out their software practices and further expand hybrid IT capabilities.

Cisco Software Partner Program

We’ve heard loud and clear that partners want our help in growing their software business through a more structured approach. Cisco has made significant investments to broaden our software offers, delivery and buying models, and ecosystem capabilities to deliver business outcomes to customers. During the past couple of years, we’ve doubled down on software innovations through new product introductions, including Cisco ONE Software Suites, Cisco Connected Analytics, Cisco Cloud Suite and many others, as well as our recent company investments and acquisitions, including Embrane, MetaCloud, and Sourcefire. Our actions reinforce our words by demonstrating a commitment to enabling customer transformation, harnessing new growth opportunities, and providing greater agility through software.

Now it’s time to ignite our partner ecosystem.  Announced today, the new Cisco Software Partner Program helps current and new partners capture profitable revenue streams and build competencies around software. This program provides partners with enablement resources, incentives, benefits and rewards to capitalize on the large software opportunity.

New roles include: (see infographic here)

  • Software Lifecycle Advisor: A lifecycle advisor helps customers understand how best to adopt, use and manage their software and services, while maximizing the return on investment in Cisco software solutions. These partners offer lifecycle management services and expand the opportunities that drive customer software adoption and recurring revenue based on Cisco software offers. As a result, partners enhance their relationship with customers as a trusted advisor and increase customer loyalty.
  • Software Consultant: This role provides business strategy and management services to help customers maximize value from Cisco Software offers. Consultants offer professional services to review customers’ business and operations, identify areas for improvement, define desired outcomes and metrics, and prescribe Cisco software in the overall solutions. Often used for vertical market deployments, Consultants also deliver transformational services, including change management.
  • Software Integrator: This role identifies a customer’s desired business outcome and then builds a custom solution using Cisco software, third party software, and partner intellectual property. Software integrators then apply integration services to implement a tailored solution into their customers’ environment. The result for partners is increased integration and professional services opportunities.

As part of the enrollment process, partners must earn the role practice qualification by completing a one- time validation to ensure they have the core practice elements.  They then must demonstrate business and technology knowledge for specific Cisco software offers. Enrollment as a Lifecycle Advisor, Consultant, and/or Software Integrator will begin in early 2016.

Partners will also receive rewards for investments made in building their Cisco software practice and for performance.  Partners will receive financial and business acceleration benefits that reward landing, adopting, expanding, and renewing their Cisco software footprint in customer accounts, and for delivering valuable software consulting and integration services. As a partner-centric company, Cisco is committed to positioning our partners for success. We will offer a number of partner enablement resources, including training, workshops, and marketing support for partners to gain new competencies around software.

So what are the key benefits for partners that play these roles? They provide multiple opportunities for partners to monetize software and build their practices across the entire Cisco software portfolio.  Channel reseller partners can grow deal sizes by adding more value through selling software tied to business outcomes, and expand software adoption and renewals with lifecycle management services. Partners also benefit from recurring revenues and increased professional services opportunities.

The journey to a world driven by software and services has started, and this exciting program will be a catalyst for partners to build their expertise, expand their software practice, and grow their revenue.

Cisco Cloud and Managed Services Program

It was no coincidence that we introduced our Intercloud strategy just over a year ago at Cisco Partner Summit 2014. After all, one of the ways in which we plan to disrupt the cloud industry was by introducing a genuinely partner-centric cloud model. Our strategy is to build the world’s largest global network of clouds – the Intercloud – with our partners.

To accomplish this we’re rallying an ecosystem spanning cloud builders, cloud providers, cloud reseller and application developers.  Today, we are expanding our Cloud and Managed Services Program (CMSP)  to enable cloud providers to participate in the Intercloud opportunity and successfully capitalize on the transition to hybrid IT.  This new program structure is Offer-Based, which means that cloud provider roles depend on the offer they bring to market and the inclusion of Intercloud technologies.  Simpler and more flexible, the new program introduces additional cloud architectures and more Cisco Powered services.

  • Offer-Based Program:. There are two roles a partner can play within the next-generation CMSP program, cloud and managed service provider or Intercloud provider.
    • Cisco Cloud and Managed Services Providers offer Cisco Powered cloud services over any Cisco Cloud Architecture and/or managed services over a Cisco Reference Architectures. Current providers can become a Cisco Powered Services provider by meeting new requirements which are actually lower than the prior requirements to become a Master Provider.
    • Cisco Intercloud Providers must implement either Cisco Intercloud Technologies (Intercloud Fabric and Application Centric Infrastructure) on their infrastructure or Cisco virtual Managed services (vMS) architecture to deliver Cisco Powered services to customers. Some of these Intercloud Providers may be invited to implement the Cisco Intercloud Stack and participate as a node in Cisco’s global cloud.  These partners will sign an Alliance agreement with Cisco.
  • Choice of Cisco Cloud Architectures: Partners can now tap into new application markets. The new Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform provides a next-generation integrated platform, while decreasing operational expenses. It offers the choice of flexible consumption model, enabling of local and global data privacy, delivery of consistent security and policies, and assured performance. Partners can continue to offer existing Cisco Powered services based on VMDC, which enables virtualized applications ideal for traditional enterprise IT needs.
  • Expanded Cisco Powered brand to virtual Managed Services (vMS): Cisco vMS is a new platform for delivering network and network security services that can be implemented in the cloud. As vMS is self-serviced enabled, partners and customers can realize huge cost savings in operating expenses. The first set of new vMS will be launched in the fall of 2015.
  • Increased Flexibility and Simplicity: By removing hierarchical program levels of Master, Advanced and Express, partners can choose the Cisco Certified Architecture that best fits their business and offer managed, cloud, or Intercloud services. In addition, the annual audit cycle has been changed to every three years, and the requirement for one mandatory CCIE personnel has been removed altogether. All of this is designed to simplify the application and renewal process by reducing the burden on providers. Current Cloud Services Reseller and Managed Services Reseller roles have been mainstreamed into Cisco Resale Certification as part of Hybrid IT requirements and the Cloud Builder will continue as a Specialization under the Resale Program.
  • Transition Timelines: As always we will provide our partners with a healthy transition period of 12-24 months, depending on their audit date. Master Service Providers will roll over into the Cisco Powered Services provider role and will be recognized as Intercloud Providers when they implement Intercloud technologies into their infrastructure.

JFK once said that “a rising tide raises all boats” and that simple philosophy is at the heart of the Cisco Partner Ecosystem. Partnering is in Cisco’s DNA.  It’s who we are and what we do.  It’s our past and our future.  As we move to capture the next wave of opportunities – from IoE and cloud, to data analytics and security—we are excited about the opportunity created by our robust ecosystem of valued partners.

We still have a lot more to share as Partner Summit 2015 continues this week. We want to hear your feedback in the comments below. You can also follow along on Twitter @CiscoPartners and through the #ciscops15 hashtag.

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  1. There it leading the push to new partner margin capture.