Cisco Programs Aid Partner Transformation

By Khali Henderson Comments
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Cisco’s channel chief promised to help partners to transition their businesses to meet the challenges of becoming what he calls “hybrid IT" solutions providers, with new tools and a certification program.

Edison Peres, senior vice president of worldwide channels, told partners attending the annual Cisco Partner Summit this week that their role in servicing business customers would only grow in this new environment provided they make the necessary shifts.

While previous market transitions were technology-based, the current one requires partners to transition their business models, Peres noted. The successful partner of the future, he said, will adopt a “hybrid IT" model, wherein it offers managed, premises and cloud (public and private) backed by SLAs and professional services.

“As I look into the future, there is more opportunity for you to add value and drive profitability," Peres said.

Cisco’s most recent annual partner survey showed that many partners are embracing the new model; managed and professional services are a greater proportion of partners’ revenue than in years past, he said.

Those partners that have not begun their transformation need to weigh the cost of successful transformation versus doing nothing, he added.

“There are a lot of you sitting on the sidelines," Peres said. “Get in the game."

Peres offered partners a “game plan":

  1. Make hybrid IT a foundation of your business value proposition.
  2. Lead with solutions and professional services.
  3. Transition sales teams to address new buying centers.

To back this up, Cisco has published a Cloud Business Transformation Playbook that covers best practices in business models, sales structure, marketing, finances and more. It’s available as a PDF workbook, in-person workshop and video on demand.

Further, Cisco is offering a new set of Business Transformation certifications, including the Cisco Certified Business Value Specialist and Business Value Practitioner for account managers and Cisco Transformative Architecture Specialist for systems engineers. Peres said Cisco expects to add these to its specializations in the future. The networking giant will offset the cost of the certification, which is provided through Cisco’s 450 learning partners, for select partners. Specifically, 700 partners will get $3,000 in Cisco Learning Credits for the Specialist certification and 100 partners will get $1,000 in credits for the Practitioner certification. And, the 200 partners that already completed the Business Architect training will receive vouchers to take the exams to be certified.

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