I just returned from our annual Partner Summit in Las Vegas. It was a jam packed three days, and it was so great to be back together in person with our amazing partners. One of the things I love most about going to this event is the opportunity to connect with partners. I had some great conversations and heard about what’s working – but also – where we need to improve. My team and I take partner feedback very seriously, and we’ll continue to work to deliver an industry best partner program.

Owning Accountability

The theme of Cisco Partner Summit 2022 was “Let’s Own It.” To me, ownership is about accountability. I’m accountable to our partners for these deliverables:

  • Programs that strengthen their brand and help them differentiate
  • Predictable incentives that reward them across the lifecycle
  • A best-in-class experience so they can deliver value and outcomes to our joint customers

In my business impact session, I talked about the progress we’ve made and what we’re planning for the future. If you didn’t have the opportunity to attend live, I really encourage you to watch the recording. I shared updates on all four partner roles and the entire specializations and incentives portfolios, but I want to highlight a few of the updates.

Partner Program and Specialization Updates

Partner Solution Specializations Map to Customer Priorities SlideThe first big announcement was the launch of the solution specializations. These new specializations are designed to more closely align to the offers and solutions that partners are already delivering to customers. They’re lightweight, multi-architectural and based on their knowledge, expertise and capability to deliver. We launched the first three in September, and at Partner Summit, we announced that three more are now available. Check out my blog for more details on these new specializations.

Specializations are closely tied to partners’ ability to earn incentives. Our incentives portfolio is designed to support partner profitability across roles, business models, and the lifecycle.

The Perform Plus incentive is so successful at fueling growth and profitability, we wanted to expand it to include even more partners. To that end, we announced a new tier in Perform Plus called Perform Plus Activate. This new tier provides an entry point for our smaller partners, and rewards are based on consistent bookings. We know consistency leads to sustainable growth, so over time, as these partners continue to drive bookings, they will become eligible to earn in Perform Plus.

We also made major improvements to the Lifecycle Incentives. We receive a lot of feedback on these incentives, so we simplified the process and improved how we reward partners. Firstly, we standardized how we measure and pay across all software. We also redistributed the payouts, so we’re rewarding partners across use, engage, and adopt. In Lifecycle Incentives 2.0, partners can leverage telemetry for the entire process – eliminating so much manual work. Lastly, the new Funds Manager platform offers enhanced visibility of all opportunities, earnings, and payments.

More Updates and Learning Opportunities

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.


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Marc Surplus

Vice President, Partner Strategy & Programs

Global Partner Sales