Cisco Reveals Reasons Behind Changes to Partner Program

The need for agility and simplicity triggered the consolidation of and changes to channel programs.

Christine Horton, Contributing Editor

October 30, 2020

2 Min Read
Partner Program Update

Cisco says the events of 2020 triggered “the biggest changes to its partner program in over a decade.”

This week Cisco announced plans to consolidate nearly a dozen partner programmes over the next 12-18 months. The new unified programme it said, “will serve partners in a more flexible and agile way than ever before.”

It also announced the Partner Experience Platform (PXP). Cisco has brought together 100+ tools, portals and applications that partners previously used. The digital platform will be a single gateway for partners, promising faster enrollment on programs and actionable insights for partners. These aim to help drive new growth opportunities, optimise incentives better and monitor partner performance.


Cisco’s Angela Whitty

Angela Whitty, managing director of Cisco’s UKI partner organisation, explained the reasons behind the changes to its partner program. She said recent events had disrupted how many organisations conduct business. In addition, she noted that digital transformation has accelerated more than ever before.

“We needed our programs and platforms to reflect these changes and demonstrate how we and our partners can best succeed together,” she said. “The goal behind these changes is to deliver simplicity and enable our partners to be more agile, relevant and profitable.”

Cisco’s focus on simplicity moving forward is reflected in the changes to its partner program.

“The first main benefit is a move towards simplifying experiences for our partners,” said Whitty. She described the PXP as “a one-stop-shop to all the resources channel teams and partners need to be successful.”

The changes will also offer partners more opportunity to differentiate across the various aspects of their business, she said. These include resell, managed services, developer and advisor practices with Cisco.

Whitty also said the new program will support agility “by accommodating the many roles the partner supports their customers with. It’s about not putting partners in a box or limiting their ability to showcase their unique value.”

Additionally, it will help partners to increase their relevance, she said. She noted there would be “more ways to demonstrate managed services, developer and advisor areas of expertise, as well as profitability. This will be through a shift in focus from product life cycle to recurring customer value.”

Need to adapt

The pandemic has seen partners adapt from supporting customers in traditional, office-based work to remote working. However, Whitty notes that the situation in the U.K. is changing again. Business leaders are looking towards long-term hybrid working models, meaning that partners need to adapt once more.

“The ability to work flexibly is crucial, and agility is the key for success in this new environment. Through the changes to our partner program … partners will be empowered with digital agility across the entire partner life cycle.”

Cisco has around 4,500 partners in UKI, and “between 95-98%” of its business transacts through the channel.

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About the Author(s)

Christine Horton

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.

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