4 SD-WAN Partner Practice Models that Drive Profitability


Four, 4

… third-party providers and vendors to augment their capabilities along the journey.

Cisco Traditional vs Managed Services for SD-WAN Partners

Source: Cisco Global Partner Organization

  1. Resell – A common model for SD-WAN, especially for large enterprises, is for customers to deploy and manage SD-WAN in their network environment with their own IT staff. Partners look for a global vendor that can offer long-term stability as well as layered, integrated security available on premises or in the cloud. With this customer do-it-yourself (DIY) model, channel partners focus on reselling the best vendor’s technology. They also often pave customers’ migration to SD-WAN by delivering consultative design and implementation services.
  2. Resell “as a Service” – While many channel partners want to offer an SD-WAN managed service for their customers, teaming with a third-party provider who may even offer it as a white-labeled service is a faster path to market entry. These arrangements are more solution-oriented and, due to the managed capabilities, feature roll-out can be accelerated because of infrastructure standardization. Furthermore, investment in and distribution of continuous innovations fall to the third party. This model gives partners an initial entry point offering managed services to their customers while reducing their time-to-market and risk.
  3. Co-Deliver – Similar to the “as a service” model, channel partners can work hand-in-hand with vendors that offer a managed service. In this model, partners co-manage the SD-WAN managed services alongside the vendor; they often taking on more of the services risk for the customer. These channel partners have more mature services capabilities, are more hands-on in traffic optimization, segmentation policy design and implementation. In addition, these partners often have a life cycle management team who works closely with the vendors’ customer success organization.
  4. Build – In this model, channel partners fully build and operate their own SD-WAN managed service practices. They become the managed service provider, offering subscription-based services to customers while establishing recurring, predictable revenue streams. Customers buy SD-WAN as a managed service bundled with highly advanced service integrations and network connectivity options. This reduces their own IT staff needs associated with DIY deployments. Here, the partner takes on a high level of risk with the customer, but realizes several key economies-of-scale benefits.


As channel partners align themselves with vendors that offer secure, intelligent, multipurpose and scalable technology platforms they must also take steps to improve their practice capabilities and expand their business models toward more managed services. My channel partners now realize a four-times multiplier of sales pull-through from SD-WAN as it drives new opportunities across network domains — campus, branch, IoT, security, data center and cloud. The fast movers will best position themselves for the long-term win across the entire intent-based networking infrastructure market.

Jason W. Gallo is global senior director of enterprise networking for Cisco Global Partner Organization where his application of financial knowledge fused with technology is a trademark of transformational initiatives. He has participated in various analyst panels and has been a key speaker for Cisco global partner events. Jason is an executive sponsor of the Cisco Connected Black Professionals and co-founder of the Alpha Phi Alpha Endowed Scholarship at RIT. He received his MBA from The University of Chicago, and a master’s degree in engineering from Washington State University. He has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Follow him on LinkedIn or @JasonWGallo on Twitter.

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