In some ways, 2020 has boxed in Cisco partners with logistical, economic and operational constraints. In other ways, it has accelerated us down the path we were already on, toward:

  • More integrated solutions and seamless remote experiences
  • Flexibility in consumption and service models
  • Minimized time to maximized value

In 2020, the need to perform in our day-to-day business continued, but the drive to transform increased—to deliver managed services and SaaS to lines of business, to develop applications and automation on top of Cisco platforms and to generate full customer value across the lifecycle.

To take advantage of this shift, we are unboxing a new, unified Cisco Partner Program at our Partner Summit Digital conference. It combines our existing, siloed partner programs into a single, cohesive framework structured around the roles you play with your customers, as opposed to how you transact with Cisco.

So let’s unpack the new Cisco Partner Program.

The program is based on four key roles—Integrator, Provider, Developer and Advisor—each with three tiers. It preserves your existing investments in your Cisco practice.

  • Integrators build end-to-end solutions for our customers. Our integrators work primarily in a resale motion and bring unique expertise and services to solve customer business problems. Business Specializations will continue to count toward Integrator certifications. And although we are streamlining requirements, Premier and Select tiers will be enhanced.
  • Providers deliver outcomes via managed services and SaaS solutions and are experts at delivering customer outcomes with Cisco-based solutions. This role is an evolution of the Cloud and Managed Services program and will continue to be supported with a robust end-to-end value exchange. We will add a new Gold Provider status in the second half of FY21.
  • Developers provide complete customer solutions by delivering complimentary products, software and services that drive customer-specific outcomes. Developers often leverage our APIs to drive more automation in the network or even build custom applications that work on Cisco platforms to solve unique customer business challenges. For Developers, co-marketing and co-selling opportunities are key to our value exchange, and we will provide increased support and new incentives for your Developer practices.
  • Advisors add value by consulting on customers’ most pressing business challenges and understand how a Cisco offer or solution may solve that challenge. Typically involved during a pre-sales conversation, this role often kickstarts the customer lifecycle engagement. Going forward, Cisco will formally recognize the value Advisors bring. We’ll provide new benefits, such as early access to our direction and roadmaps.

You can choose to focus on one role or all four—whatever level of investment and benefits make the most sense for your business. Each role will have different requirements to achieve tiers, and there will be synergy across roles to maximize your return on investment. For example, our DevNet Specialization will count toward Gold Integrator status, and you would expect the same skills to be critical for Developers, as well, as we build out those requirements.

Our Gold brand remains the cornerstone of the new program, but we are enhancing Premier and Select certifications, as well, to give you the degrees of freedom you need to best serve your customers.

One last note: We’re not asking you to start over or change overnight, and we are not straying from our value-based program philosophy. This new program is designed to protect and build on your existing investments. Over the coming months, you’ll see incremental changes to current programs with plenty of lead time. We’ll be transparent every step of the way, helping you prepare as you continue working seamlessly with your customers.

I may not be able to predict the future, especially after the year we’ve had, but I know you can count on this:

  • Customers will continue to be at the center of everything we do together
  • Cisco will work with you to differentiate yourself in the market
  • We will remain committed to increasing your relevance, agility and profitability

That’s how we can thrive as we transform for the future—together!


Marc Surplus

Vice President, Partner Strategy & Programs

Global Partner Sales