8 Money-Makers Cisco Partners Don't Want To Miss4:00 PM EST Fri. Jun. 14, 2013
Cisco used its 17th annual Partner Summit in Boston this year to showcase a new set of programs, services and products that can help solution providers grow their bottom lines. From new midmarket incentives, to the latest in Catalyst switches, here are eight money-making opportunities for the Cisco channel.
Cisco realizes not all solution providers have the bandwidth to build and deploy a dedicated cloud practice. But the networking giant still sees great opportunities in cloud for all partners, big and small.
Cisco drove that point home with the launch of its revamped Cloud Services Reseller program at this year's Partner Summit. The new program offers new incentive and training opportunities specifically for Cisco's Cloud Services Reseller partners, or those who aren't necessarily Cloud Builders or Cloud Providers, but can still grow their businesses by reselling Cisco-powered cloud services.
For starters, Cloud Services Reseller partners can now tap into Cisco's Value Incentive Program (VIP) for rebates on sales of Cisco-powered services, such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service, hosted collaboration or Telepresence-as-a-Service. Cisco also is rolling out a points-based rewards system for Cloud Services Resellers, and said resellers now have access to Cisco Powered Branding, which they can use on their own white-label offers.
Cisco, in a move set to intensify its server battle against rival Hewlett-Packard, announced at Partner Summit a new year-end competitive trade-in program that provides financial incentives for partners displacing HP servers and replacing them with comparable Cisco gear.
The program, which is running now through July 27, provides credits for trading in select HP BladeSystem servers. The credits can then be applied toward the purchase of a comparable configuration of Cisco's two-sock Unified Computing System (UCS). Cisco said it is offering up to $650 in trade-in credits on select HP blades and up to $1,600 in credits on select HP chassis.
One of the marquee announcements from last year's Cisco Partner Summit was the launch of the Cisco Services Partner Program (CSPP), a program that today boasts 50,000 partners around the world.
At this year's Partner Summit, Cisco told a new services story, this time urging partners to explore three new services offerings on Cisco's road map: consulting services, platform services and industry services.
Industry services will be especially lucrative for partners, said Edzard Overbeek, senior vice president for Cisco Services, particularly with the rise of machine-to-machine communications. Remote energy management services were used as an example, with partners helping companies remotely monitor things like power consumption, or even heating and cooling systems. Overbeek said he values the addressable market for industry services at roughly $120 billion, with platform services and consulting services representing a $32 billion and $10 billion opportunity, respectively.
The midmarket was a major focus of Cisco's at this year's Partner Summit, with the networking giant pledging to pump $150 million -- or double what it invested last year -- into its midmarket-focused Partner-Led and Partner-Plus initiatives.
This increased financial backing is good news for Cisco midmarket partners. It's manifesting in new growth-based incentives for partners in the Partner-Plus program, which solution providers can tap into on top of the value-based incentives they already have access to through Cisco VIP. Cisco said these growth-based incentives will be based on the volume of midmarket-focused products and services partners sell.
The cash partners earn through these growth-based incentives, Cisco said, can be used to invest in marketing resources, Cisco training materials, or simply put toward their bottom line.
Cisco also used Partner Summit as a stage for unveiling the Catalyst 2960-X Series Access Switches, the newest member of Cisco's flagship Catalyst family and one that's optimized for users embracing software-defined networks and BYOD.
The new switches, which are set to launch in July, deliver twice the bandwidth of their predecessors, and provide enhanced capabilities for application visibility and control through NetFlow Lite. Cisco said the Catalyst 2960-X series allows for stacking of up to eight switches and 80 Gbps bandwidth, and offers control plane redundancy across all switches in the stack.
Energy efficiency is another key feature of the new Catalyst line, which includes hibernation modes for both downlinks and switches to consume energy during downtime.
Like the midmarket and cloud, the Internet of Things emerged as a major theme throughout Partner Summit.
"Three to five years out, our major move will be to become the No. 1 IT player together, and we will do this with partners and in conjunction," Cisco CEO John Chambers told solution providers during the opening day keynote. "To do that, we believe the major transitions will be around the Internet of Things."
Chambers said Cisco estimates the Internet of Things to represent a $14.4 trillion market, with there being 50 billion connected devices by 2020. For partners, Chambers said, the Internet of Things represents a world of opportunity, as more and more organizations will turn to them to establish machine-to-machine connections or offer industry-specific services.
With its 2012 acquisition of Meraki, Cisco and its partners developed a greater play around the cloud-based management of wired and wireless infrastructures. At Partner Summit this year, Cisco took that story one step further, announcing a new Meraki Managed Services Dashboard that provides partners with configuration, analytics and monitoring tools for fully managing a customer's Meraki deployments in a Network-as-a-Service model.
Cisco said the new Managed Services Dashboard, slated to launch this month, opens up new services-based and recurring revenue streams for partners, while also streamlining Meraki deployments, in general.
Another message that rang loud and clear at this year's Partner Summit was Cisco's momentum in the data center. For partners that haven't already, it seems like the time is right to build up a Cisco business around the networking giant's Unified Computing System (UCS).
"Last quarter, we gained three points of share in LAN
switching, and we just became, with you, the No. 2 worldwide market-share leader in x86 blades, passing IBM," Chuck Robbins, senior vice president, Worldwide Field Operations at Cisco, told partners during the final
Robbins added that Cisco's UCS business grew 77 percent last quarter alone. In a recent interview with CRN, Cisco also said that its UCS business is now valued at $2 billion, with over 20,000 customers using the product.