Cisco overhauls partner programme to fit changing channel dynamics

A close up of a grey building with the Cisco logo on it in white

Cisco has unveiled a newly revamped partner programme that takes the best of the previous one but adds extra elements, incentives and support that takes into account the nuances of the different types of company that make up the firm’s channel ecosystem.

The new programme is based around four key partner roles: Integrator, Provider, Developer, and Advisor. These changes, Cisco said, will ensure it can better support myriad ways in which partners work with customers in the real-world – be that reselling, offering managing services, developing using their own APIs or acting as trusted advisors.

Announced today at the digital-only version of Cisco’s Partner Summit, the changes represent the biggest tweaks to the programme in more than a decade, according to the company.

“Cisco has been partner-focused, partner-led for over 25 years. It’s part of our DNA and part of who we are as a company. We have done a big overhaul in two ways. The first is [about] simplification. The other key message is that we are acknowledging the reality of [the market],” according to Elisabeth De Dobbeleer, Cisco’s vice president of Partner Organisation, EMEAR.

De Dobbeleer added: “Integrator is almost the traditional partner model for Cisco. [Where they] resell with partners adding their own value. Cisco wants to double down and enable focus on partner-led consumption of managed services, so we’re going to make it simpler and easier to prove the value exchange. A lot of our partners also have very established managed services practices based on our technology, so that is the provider bucket.

“The next one is Developer. That is [about] acknowledging that a lot of our partners are developing our solutions based on their own APIs. We’re making it bigger and easier [to do that]. [Lastly, we have Advisor]. We’ve found it difficult to find ways to acknowledge and incentivise. So we will now have funding available for partner-to-partner engagement.”

Cisco says it hopes the new programme will help partners increase agility, profitability and relevance in the market as it rolls out the changes fully over the coming 12-18 months.

Alongside the simplification and augmentation of the previous iteration of the scheme, Cisco also used the event to unveil a new Partner Experience Platform (PXP), which will act as a single point of information and support for existing and future partnerships. The new PXP will be available to all partners from the end of November this year.

“We co-innovated and co-developed PXP with our partners, to deliver a future-ready platform,” said Jose van Dijk, the company's vice president of operations and partner performance.

“Our focus is to reimagine the digital channel and to empower partners with digital agility across the entire partner lifecycle.”

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.