Cisco Australia will trial a new program to reward its vertically-aligned partners.
The Solution Incentive Program (SIP) encourages the bundling of applications and services with the vendor's technology to create offerings targeted at specific industries and business functions.
Once channel partners have pre-qualified for the program, they will be able to receive incremental benefits and compensation for closing registered solution-based deals.
Regional manager A/NZ channels, Suzanne Hansen, said it would begin locally piloting SIP in August.
"Cisco by virtue of its partner program does not have a system to deal with vertically-focused partners," she said. "There is a pricing differential between a gold or silver partner and a vertically aligned partner, so we need a mechanism to encourage them to hunt new business with us." Hansen pointed to the hospitality vertical as an example.
"A gold partner would normally not target such a vertical, but VoIP is a dead sitter for a hotel, with services such as video-on-demand, if you have the right partner," she said.
But it was not feasible to make accreditations or gold or silver certification available to niche partners, Hansen said.
"Gold certification is all about core networking so why would a vertically-focused partner go for that?" she said. "We are not looking at an accreditation as this is not a permanent thing - it's more about giving support over a particular time frame."
While incentives for partners had yet to be determined, Hansen said Cisco would most likely provide a back-end rebate rather than the discounted pricing currently available to premium partners.
In order to encourage collaboration between advanced technology and core technology partners, SIP would also provide additional inducements, she said.
"We have traditional partners such as Dimension Data who are strong in verticals like health, but we don't want to supplant them," she said. "So we want to make sure application vendors and niche partners work with them as well."