Cisco Partner Summit — Cisco Systems Inc. announced at its global partner conference this week a series of initiatives designed to help the company’s channel partners evolve their business models. The initiatives include a partner incentive program, a collaborative partner-to-partner sales model, and new architecture-based specializations.
Specifically, Cisco announced the launch of the Cisco Teaming Incentive Program to encourage early sales engagement and reward partners for their investment in consulting and professional services capabilities. Historically, Cisco has rewarded partners who uncovered new opportunities through its Opportunity Incentive Program (OIP). The Teaming Incentive Program will form the fourth pillar in the Cisco’s channel partner incentive program, joining OIP, the Value Incentive Program (VIP) and Solutions Incentive Program (SIP).
Under the new program, Cisco will determine which partner is entitled to benefit for each customer deal based on a set of objective criteria that includes customer relationship, pre-sales investments, joint account planning, certifications, specializations, and investments in professional and technical services capabilities. Once the most qualified partner is identified, and agrees to team with Cisco, that partner will have the opportunity to benefit from differential discounts in recognition of their investment in the deal.
The system was successfully tested in Latin America for the last 18 months. Implementation will be phased in beginning July 2010 and is planned to be completed by the end of 2010. The Teaming Incentive Program is being piloted in Emerging Markets beginning May 2010.
Cisco also is introducing the Global Partner Network, a program that enables channel partners to collaborate to better serve multinational customers. The program is in pilot and general availability is scheduled for fourth quarter 2010.
Historically, many businesses expanding internationally have engaged in separate transactions with local Cisco resellers in each country of their operations. In contrast, the Global Partner Network provides channel partners with the framework to collaborate on, transact and fulfill global customer business requirements.
Here’s how it works: The Global Partner Network allows a Cisco channel partner to act as a “host” partner in the headquarters location of the customer. To be able to meet the needs of a customer in locations where the host partner may not have a local investment, the host partner can establish an “agency” relationship with other qualified Cisco partners and distributors in remote locations. The host partner owns the customer relationship, designs the solution architecture in the headquarters location and has responsibility for the overall transaction from pre- to post-sales. An online portal, the Cisco Commerce Workspace, allows the host partner to manage the global deal, secure Cisco approvals, and manage agents by remote country.
Cisco also announced today it will evolve its channel partner specializations from technologies to architectures to help channel partners develop integrated practices around borderless networks, collaboration and data center virtualization. Cisco is helping train its partners to develop architectural sales capabilities in partnership with its global community of Cisco Learning Partners. These partners are helping to create new individual curricula for “Business Architect” and “Technical Architect” designations. This new training will help partners sell consultative services and architectural solutions.
Cisco began to accelerate the partner evolution toward architectures a year ago, when it announced its flagship profitability program, Value Incentive Program, would shift from rewarding partners’ investments in technologies to selling architectural solutions.