Cisco Raise Channel Partner Bar

Cisco Systems is using its annual partner summit in San Diego this week to introduce its channel partners to a revamped partner program that will see them have to strive harder to reach the Gold level, but that will also offer more opportunities for market differentiation and specialisation.

Over 2,200 partners are on hand for the conference, which Cisco says is their largest Partner Summit turnout to date. The themes running through the conference have been “The Edge”, and “The Network as the Platform”, and those themes are reflected in the range of changes the company is making to its partner programs. The channel is an important priority for Cisco, accounting for over 85 per cent of the company’s sales.

Edison Peres, Cisco’s vice-president of worldwide channels, said the market has bought into the idea of the network becoming the platform, with new capabilities and applications migrating from the application or middleware layer to the IP network. That means more opportunity for partners, and he said increasingly the opportunity is as much on the services side as it is the equipment side. Cisco puts the worldwide equipment sales opportunity for partners today at US$42 billion, and the opportunity for partners in the services arena at US$44 billion.

Cisco Systems announced 12 new Cisco Qualified Specialist certifications. While many of the titles are aimed at partners, a few also apply to general IT professionals.
The certifications are:

• Cisco Advanced Wireless LAN Design Specialist
• Cisco Advanced Wireless LAN Field Specialist
• Cisco Advanced Wireless LAN Sales Specialist
• Cisco Security Solutions and Design Specialist
• Cisco Advanced Security Field Specialist
• Cisco Security Sales Specialist
• Cisco Routing and Switching Solutions Specialist
• Cisco Routing and Switching Field Specialist
• Cisco Routing and Switching Sales Specialist
• Cisco Foundation Design Specialist
• Cisco Foundation Field Specialist
• Cisco Foundation Sales Specialist

According to the official announcement on Cisco’s Web site, the certifications were designed to “match job role requirements for Cisco Channel Partner employees in the new Channel program.”