Telecommunications networking giant Ciena has enhanced its channel partner program, breaking away from a traditional, “one-size fits all” approach to one it says is more “collaborative and personalized.”
The new Ciena Partner Network (CPN) aims to enable and reward all partner business models from a single platform. In addition, the Partner Academy, Ciena’s training and certification program, guides partners on personalized learner journeys to expand their expertise by offering the same sales and technical training as Ciena staff gets.
Sandra Glaser Cheek, Ciena’s vice president of channel sales and marketing, tells Channel Partners that today’s industry partners are the least dependent on hardware and software sales than any other time in the channel’s history, “making knowledge exchange – including the training and enablement of a program like this – an imperative.”
“Plus, combined with the fact that the networking and communications industry is in a state of incredible change, thanks to demand for 5G, IoT and more, there is a significant need for new network infrastructure — hardware, software and services,” she said. “With this in mind, we purpose-built a portfolio that can deal with the scaling and automation challenges created by these digital disruptions, which ultimately resulted in the enhanced (program).”
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CPN will provide greater flexibility and customization to all partners, including MSPs, resellers, integrators, distributors and service partners.
“We recognize that partners may have multiple go-to-market business models, each with their own barriers and challenges,” Cheek said. “Instead of viewing partners with a generic lens, collaborative business planning means individual strategic plans are created to specially support the business growth objectives of each partner. Ultimately, this enables partners to specialize, reduce time to market, achieve the sales and technical expertise they need, and deliver measurable outcomes. In fact, Ciena’s research shows that partners that participate (in) business planning tend to generate two times higher and more consistent revenue.”
Solution-enablement toolkits (SETs) provide a collection of sales, marketing and services development resources designed to allow partners to build specialized data-center interconnect (DCI) and Ethernet offerings based on Ciena solutions. Resources include: training, market insights, competitive intelligence, geo-targeting, sales playbooks and exclusive access to industry analysts.
“We understand the power of data and its ability to help us look at our technology solutions so we can deliver the right mix of automation, intelligence and scale within the network to help our customers achieve their business goals,” said Garrett Gee, CenturyLink’s vice president of indirect, strategic partnerships and alliances. “Through the changes made to the Ciena partner program, we now have greater flexibility to use data and insights to implement adaptive networking solutions for our customers.”