Cisco is creating a new channel program for cloud and managed services provider partners that will streamline the existing programs for each while adding benefits and offering access to Cisco's lucrative incentive program points.
The new Cloud and Managed Services Program (CMSP), which Cisco will officially unveil Tuesday, merges Cisco's current Cloud Provider and Cloud Services Reseller roles with its existing Managed Services Channel Program (MSCP), with the intention of simplifying how partners that participate in each of those three designations receive benefits and profit from Cisco's cloud strategy.
Among the benefits, CMSP partners will soon have access to Cisco's Value Incentive Program (VIP), when its 21st installment takes effect on Jan. 27, 2013. What was previously several different systems of payment will streamline into a single system, according to Cisco, and pricing of Cisco-based cloud and managed services will be simplified.
The same program is available to Cisco partners around the world, according to the San Jose, Calif.-based company, and partners also will see closer alignment between CMSP and Cisco's Services Partner Program (CSPP), which was confirmed earlier this year.
What's more, CMSP partners will be able to leverage Cisco's other incentive programs for additional discounts on qualifying deals. CMSP partners also can use official Cisco branding and the "Cisco-Powered" moniker to align with Cisco's corporate marketing strategy around cloud. New funding in the form of cloud-centric market development funds, business accelerators and other spot compensation will be available as well.
Ricardo Moreno, senior director of strategy, planning and programs, worldwide channels at Cisco, said the programs are designed to help more types of partners take hold of what Gartner pegs as a $200 billion market by 2016.
"We've had a partner-based strategy for cloud -- we've been very clear about that," Moreno told CRN this week.
Cisco formally launched cloud partner programs in March 2011 at that year's Cisco Partner Summit in New Orleans. Initially, Cisco bucketed partners into three areas of participation: Cloud Builders, Cloud Providers and Cloud Services Resellers.
It's continued to fine-tune the cloud program throughout the past 18 months, including the addition of a Master Cloud Builder designation in September. Cisco also has been moving executives around to focus on the cloud partnering opportunity. Bob Gault, most recently vice president of worldwide service provider channels, became vice president, global cloud and managed services and oversees the cloud and MSP strategy for Cisco's Worldwide Partner Organization.
"Now that the cloud is maturing, we want to mainstream our cloud programs," Moreno explained. "Partners will be able to spend more time and take the benefits that make sense to them."
Moreno said the VIP inclusion for cloud and managed services deals will make a big difference to solution provider partners that offer those services. CMSP also will help Cisco attract a class of cloud provider partner -- it's currently on-boarding several well-known IaaS players -- that didn't previously participate in Worldwide Partner Organization benefits.
In addition, CMSP partners will be able to collaborate with each other and identify partnering opportunities with other solution providers. That occurs via a microsite -- accessed through Cisco's partner portal -- through which those partners can advertise what cloud services they offer and network with other Cisco partners.
Partners will need to migrate to CMSP by Aug. 1, 2013 -- the start of Cisco's fiscal new year. CMSP partners will be required to deliver at least two "Cisco-powered" services; most Cisco MSCP partners do that already, Moreno said. CMSP membership likely will require some additional investment on the part of partners, he added, but those are the costs associated with building out qualifying services.
PUBLISHED NOV. 27, 2012