Cisco Partners Get Transformed, Role-Based, Unified Partner Program

The PXP reduces 100 plus tools, applications and portals into a single digital platform.

Lynn Haber

October 28, 2020

5 Min Read

Two years since it put its digital transformation stake in the ground, Cisco is giving its partners a program that is unified and transformed to a role-based model. Simplicity and an improved partner experience sit at the core of the biggest changes in a decade.

Cisco’s strategy is about agility and growth. The new Cisco Partner Program, which will unfold over the next 12-18 months, is based on four roles – integrator, provider, developer and advisor. Additionally, Cisco is launching “The Partner Experience Platform.” It’s a digital partner platform and single repository for working with Cisco across the life cycle.


Cisco’s Oliver Tuszik

“Most of have customers who’ve changed what they buy, and how they buy and prioritize. Of course, the market is always changing. This isn’t completely new, but today it’s more disruptive than ever. And changes are coming faster,” said Oliver Tuszik, senior vice president, global partner organization at Cisco, at Cisco Partner Summit Digital. “Being ready for an unknown future and being able to adapt fast — that is all about being future-ready.”

The global channel chief noted three takeaways that partner can expect to hear more about from Cisco. They are commitment, more ways to reach customers and meet their needs, and a focus on agility and relevance.

One Cisco Partner Program

Partners will see a new simplified partner program structure. Going forward, Cisco will consolidate about a dozen separate partner programs into a single one. The new Cisco Partner Program will offer partners more opportunity to differentiate across the various aspects of their business, from resell to managed services to developer and advisor practices with Cisco.

The role-based focus aims to help partners differentiate across their business, simplify, be more agile and profitable.


Cisco’s Mark Suplus

“2020 and the pandemic greatly accelerated the need for our partners to transform 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 life cycle,“ said Marc Suplus, vice president, strategy, planning and programs at Cisco. “We are taking a bold step to break down the silos partners feel between our various partner programs that will give our partners more freedom to differentiate and transform across the dimensions of their Cisco business.”

While the partners can select and identify certain roes within their business – integrator, provider, developer and advisor – they’re not limited to selecting just one. The role selection process is to help partners make sense of their businesses.

Cisco hopes that this will better position partners for new opportunities, shifting focus from the product life cycle to recurring customer value. The customer experience specialization is key due to the demand on recurring value throughout the customer life cycle. It will count toward both an integrator and provider role and will also become a requirement for …

… gold Integrator status in late 2021.

Select and premier are the other tiers in the Cisco Partner Program. The tiers apply across all partner role types.

The Four Roles

  • Integrators: Integrators build end-to-end solutions for customers. They 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 Cisco is streamlining requirements, the company is enhancing premier and select tiers.

  • Providers: These partners deliver outcomes via managed services and SaaS solutions. They are experts at delivering customer outcomes with Cisco-based solutions. This role is an evolution of the Cloud and Managed Services program and Cisco will continue to support it with a robust end-to-end value exchange. Cisco will add a new gold provider status in the second half of its 2021 fiscal year, which begins Jan. 24.

  • Developers: Developers provide complete customer solutions by delivering complementary products, software and services that drive customer-specific outcomes. They will leverage Cisco APIs to drive more automation in the network or build custom applications that work on Cisco platforms to solve unique customer business challenges. Cisco will provide increased support and new incentives for developer practices.

  • Advisors: Advisors add value by consulting on customers’ most pressing business challenges and understand how a Cisco offer or solution might solve that challenge. Typically involved during a presales conversation, this role often kick-starts customer life cycle engagement. Going forward, Cisco will formally recognize the value that advisors bring. Cisco will provide new benefits, such as early access to its direction and road maps.

Partner Experience Platform (PXP)

The new PXP helps partners collaborate across a connected ecosystem, co-innovate and co-sell together with Cisco on one digital platform.

“We co-innovated and co-developed PXP with our partners, to deliver a future ready platform,” said Jose van Dijk, vice president, operations and partner performance at Cisco. “Our focus is to reimagine the digital channel and to empower partners with digital agility across the entire partner life cycle.”

Here’s what PXP delivers:

  • Simplicity. PXP will bring together 100+ tools, applications and portals to a single digital platform, making it easier for partners to navigate. Think of it as a one-stop shop for everything.

  • Productivity. The new platform will deliver efficiencies for partners, such as faster enrollment in programs and better ability to co-sell with Cisco.

  • Growth and profitability. PXP will deliver actionable insights for partners to drive new growth opportunities, optimize incentives better and monitor partner performance.

  • Future road map for 2021. Expect to see updates throughout the year. They will include benchmarking capabilities, faster onboarding and enrollment, and a digital community for partner collaboration.

The new Cisco Partner Program changes won’t come in like a tsunami; rather, the changes are designed to protect partner investments. Incremental changes will appear over the coming months, giving partners lead time to absorb them.

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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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