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Software Drives Cisco Partner Program ExpansionSoftware Drives Cisco Partner Program Expansion

Cisco puts muscle around software transformation strategy.

Lynn Haber

November 5, 2019

4 Min Read
Cisco Partner Summit 2019

(Pictured above: Cisco Chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins during the Global Insight Session at Cisco Partner Summit.)

CISCO PARTNER SUMMIT 2019 — Cisco partners had 12 months from last year’s Partner Summit to align with the company’s transformation journey and shift to software and Lifecycle selling. Today, Cisco put more muscle around its transformation strategy with the announcement of two vital innovations to its partner program, both designed to encourage partner differentiation with software.

The additions to the partner program revolve around DevNet and Lifecycle Services, which go hand in hand with the CX (customer experience).

“Partner software business grew 26% over the last year and  partner Saas and subscription business grew more than 60%,” Chuck Robbins, chairman and CEO of Cisco told attendees at the Global Insight Session at Cisco Partner Summit. “I’ve talked to partners who have who have built businesses around this (DevNet). This is beginning with the value proposition of you building automation capabilities, operational automation; this gives you the capability to create your unique intellectual property on top of these platforms.”

Today, Cisco is mainstreaming DevNet, (the Cisco Developer Network reinvented, in 2014) with the introduction of a DevNet Specialization for partners. The new DevNet Specialization will recognize Cisco partners with proven software development capabilities and business practices around network automation, DevOps and digital transformation.

Cisco also said that DevNet Career Certifications will count towards eligibility for a partner Gold Certification and the DevNet Specialization. The new Cisco DevNet training and certifications provide software skills for network engineers and software developers who work with Cisco technologies and APIs.

Moving ahead with the CX strategy that the company laid out last year, which is to help customers transform their businesses through Cisco’s portfolio of software, subscription and services offerings, partners must also shift to a recurring, subscription or annuity-based model. And, they must adopt a life cycle approach to customer engagement to continuously demonstrate value.

“Customer success is how customers experience the solutions that we deliver together to them,” said Robbins. “This is complex but we’re going to be doing this with you.”

To help partners make the transition, Cisco developed three new programs:

  • Solution Starter: This is included in the Cisco DNA Enterprise Agreements and offers a customer entitlement for a partner that has delivered onboarding and Implementation services. This enables partners to start the life cycle journey with their customers. Solution Starter positions partners to sell their value-added services to help their customers through the Lifecycle and realize the value of the software.

  • Lifecycle Incentives:  Partners are rewarded for performing Lifecycle activities that ensure their customers are using the software in their network, taking advantage of the features and realizing business outcomes.

  • Use Accelerator Bonus: This is an incremental bonus for partners further rewarding activation and building out customer use cases in Cisco DNA technologies, which are available until the end of Cisco’s Q3FY20.

Cisco’s CX Lifecycle strategy is at the heart of Cisco’s transformation journey, and that of its partners. Today, Cisco announced new services to…

…help increase partner profitability, and to deliver a top-notch customer experience.

The new services include:

  • Business Critical Services (BCS) 3.0: Packaged expertise, analytics, and insights guiding customers to perform and transform. The services’ actionable insights, recommendations and automation are powered by AI and ML with access to Cisco and partner experts. BCS 3.0 was built to address key needs for the architecture, engineering, NetOps, SecOps, and DevOps functions. New BCS 3.0 packaging (Essentials and Advantage) allow partners and customers to choose the how best to integrate BCS 3.0 into their environments.

  • Solution Support: This is solution-level coverage and coordination for all Cisco technology portfolios that resolves complex issues on average 44% faster than device-level support. Customers and partners get access to a primary point of contact with product and solution expertise across 30+ Cisco solutions, 250+ Cisco products and 100+ technology providers. Cisco is now extending this offer to cover software subscriptions. Support for Collaboration is now available, followed by Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA) and Security in Q2, with others to follow.

  • Operate Offers: This as an updated portfolio of managed services designed to help partners simplify IT operations and ensure availability of their customers’ networks. These new services are packaged for partner resell in order to get partners up and running delivering managed services capabilities from Cisco while they develop their own managed service offerings and practices. These offers draw upon industry-leading orchestration and automation capabilities to proactively identify and resolve issues before they occur. The three new services are Managed Detection and Response, Managed Secure SD-WAN and Unified Communications Manager Cloud.

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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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