Networking giant, Cisco, has revealed its specialisation architecture strategy, which will go live in April. This will alter the way in which partners obtain their status.
Last year, the networking vendor announced its specialisation architecture strategy, which cover areas such as datacentre/virtualisation, service provider, borderless networks, small business and consumer. It has also added in a new sales component to the specialisation track, which will enable sales personnel to understand the benefits of architecture selling, Senior vice-president of worldwide channels, Edison Peres, said.
As an incentive, the networking vendor is offering the first 500 partners a 50 per cent discount on the sales component.
Under the new regime, Gold partners will be required to obtain a minimum of three specialisation architectures. In order to achieve Gold status previously, partners had to gain four technology specialisations.
Depending on when a partner signed up with Cisco, they will have about 12–24 months to adjust to the new requirements.
“Our objective was to make the content as relevant as possible and reduce the costs involved,” Peres told partners at the Cisco Partner Summit 2011.
The vendor also enhanced its Partner Development Funds (PDF), adding a small business track, which will help minimise the need for partners to take part in two programs. Previously partners were joining both the PDF and Value Incentive Program (VIP).
“My personal commitment is to continue to evolve the VIP program and to help ensure that you're [partners] making those investments to continue to evolve effectively and profitably,” he said.
The networking vendor also made adjustments to its Teaming Incentive Program (TIP), which provides incentives for partners to get involved and collaborate with Cisco in the early stages of the sales cycle. It has adjusted rewards for partners to match the rewards received from the Opportunity Incentive Program (OIP), which rewards partners for finding new deals. It is now piloting the new rewards structure, and it will be available in August.
“We took out the TIP pilot in many parts of the world, and the feedback we received was the reward structure was missing the mark,” Peres said. “TIP was rewarding partners for less. Clearly, this was telling us the value of teaming - the presales investments, are as equal to finding a new customer.”
After obtaining more critical feedback from partners, Cisco, has introduced a support service called, PartnerAdvisor.
It will be rolled out globally and aims to support 24,000 Cisco partners with their enquires and issues.
Cisco vice-president of worldwide small business and mid-market sales, Andrew Sage, said it had been putting some significant investment into innovating and creating a Web support service for its resellers, but they still want to talk to Cisco personnel.
“The primary things we're going to be supporting them with is choosing the right products and getting in touch with people from a post-sales stand point,” Sage said. “It's about delivering more support to partners in a way that they've asked us to, which is giving the opportunity to reach a live person when needed.”