By Jennifer LeClaire / CIO Today. Updated November 27, 2012.
In a move to streamline sales, Cisco is merging its cloud and managed services programs into a single unit. Cisco hopes to better serve channel partners and customers with the consolidation.
"As the trend for delivering technology as a service continues, now more than ever, partners must evolve their business to support the demand for new consumption models such as cloud and managed services," Edison Peres, senior vice president of Worldwide Channels, wrote in a blog post. The new paradigm, he added, aims to help partners profitably monetize the cloud and managed services opportunity.
Cloud Partner Strategy Evolution
The groundwork was laid in September, when Cisco announced an evolution of its Cloud Partner strategy to bring data center infrastructure and cloud into the mainstream of its partner program with the introduction of the Cisco Master Cloud Builder Specialization. Tuesday's announcement marks the next phase of the strategy.
"Cisco has merged Cloud Provider and Cloud Services Reseller roles and the current Managed Services Channel Program into a single Cloud and Managed Services Program (CMSP) to simplify partner engagement with Cisco and to drive customer opportunities," Peres said.
With the consolidation, Cisco hopes to build a stronger ecosystem of partners that can address all the varied cloud and managed services needs of its customers. The newly combined program rewards partners for their expertise and investments for creating, selling and delivering Cisco-powered cloud and managed services, with financial rewards, branding, logo rights and go-to-market benefits.
Better for Consumers
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, told us the consolidation makes sense for Cisco, its channel partners and Cisco customers.
"When you look at Cisco's various cloud and managed service programs, there are a number of competing services that have not rolled together. The idea here is that if you are going to be a cloud reseller for Cisco, you should have access to the entire portfolio of different services that can fulfill that need," Kerravala said.
"Cisco created one program that resellers can access so they can sell the right product to the customer instead of only the ones they are certified to sell. The worst thing that can happen is that you have three different resellers all certified in three different services trying to sell the same customer something different."
Under the Hood
Some of the changes include removal of duplicate requirements, streamlined audits and refreshed partner and Cisco services requirements. Partners looking for predictability of pricing for their cloud and managed business can utilize a new Simplified Pricing Promotion.
CMSP partners can now combine additional Cisco incentive programs including Opportunity Incentive Program, Teaming Incentive Program, Solution Incentive Program, and Technology Migration Program.
The new program also allows partners to position and sell Cisco managed and cloud services more effectively. Once certified, CMSP partners can sell and deliver Cisco cloud and managed services globally.