Cisco Updates Channel Programs, Partners with ConnectWise


New and improved

CISCO PARTNER SUMMIT — Cisco is rolling out enhancements to its channel programs designed to help partners capture new opportunities, refine software-and-services skill sets, and differentiate themselves.

In addition, Cisco and ConnectWise have a new partnership geared toward getting more Cisco products and services into the hands of MSPs via a new platform called ConnectWise Unite with Cisco. The announcements were made Wednesday at Cisco’s Partner Summit 2017 in Dallas.

“We’re at a tech paradox where customers have never cared more about technology, and never cared less about deploying and implementing solutions,” said Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, in opening the conference. “They just want the data and insights.” (Editor’s note: Read more of what Robbins had to say on our sister site, Channel Futures, live from the Cisco Partner Summit.)

Cisco's Chuck Robbins

Cisco’s Chuck Robbins

Cisco’s goals are to release solutions that are intuitive, simple and secure. Customers are beginning to realize that the cloud is not a place that you move to, but a complex web of distributed assets across multiple clouds, SaaS applications and the explosion of data at the edge, the company said.

Cisco’s new program updates fall into three core areas: building and recognizing capabilities; refreshing to digital; and moving to life cycle and recurring revenue. The changes to the programs are designed to help Cisco and its partners more effectively shift business to software and recurring revenue, and reward partners who drive growth and more profit.

“The power of Cisco’s partner ecosystem is grounded in our close working relationship with our partners,” said Marc Surplus, Cisco Global Partner Organization’s vice president of strategy, planning and programs. “To keep pace with the changing technology landscape, Cisco needs to be in lockstep with our partners if they are to operate effectively. The evolution of our partner programs is a reflection of our continued commitment to improving the overall partner experience, strengthening our joint go-to-market initiatives, and ultimately ensuring our partners succeed in owning the digital transformation space.”

Cisco is simplifying its specialization program portfolio and adding a new Master Networking Specialization. It also is ramping up its industry-expertise recognition to allow partners to demonstrate their knowledge in specific areas starting with retail, health care and manufacturing. Upon achieving this industry recognition with Cisco, the partner will be identified as such in the Cisco Partner Locator, making it easier to differentiate themselves for customers and other Cisco partners.

Cisco also is introducing new incentives and simplifying deal registration to assist partners in helping their customers prepare for the digital-ready networks of the future.

As for the Cisco/ConnectWise partnership, the Unite platform brings Meraki, Cisco Umbrella, Cisco Spark, and Stealthwatch Cloud together in a single portal that allows MSPs to more easily manage Cisco’s security, UC and multicloud networking solutions. (Channel Futures goes in depth on the Cisco-ConnectWise partnership, live from the Cisco Partner Summit, here.)

“This changes the game,” said Arnie Bellini, ConnectWise’s CEO. “This is about telephony. This is about collaboration. This is about cloud networking. This is about security. This is a very comprehensive solution that opens up lots of new doors — and revenue.”

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