Partners who obtain the IPNGN specialization will focus primarily on tier-2, tier-3 and tier-4 service providers in line with Cisco's Partner-Led initiative, where partners take the lead on SMB and midmarket Cisco accounts.
In the U.S., that second, third, and fourth tier segment comprises more than 1,100 potential customers, from regional carriers to cable companies and even some news media and broadcast outlets, Gault said.
Mid-to-large-sized service providers in the tier-2 segment will be a combination of Cisco-led engagements and partner-led deals. The largest tier-1 service providers comprise about 114 customers managed by Cisco as "transformational accounts" -- they map to Nick Adamo, Cisco senior vice president and leader of its global service provider business -- though Gault said partners can be involved in those accounts in fulfillment, support and integration roles, too.
The IPNGN specialization requirements are similar to those of other Cisco advanced architectural specializations. Partners are required to have one account manager complete about 10 total hours of sales training and become an IPNGN sales specialist, and also have a systems engineer with a CCIE or CCNP certification complete sales and product training, and field engineer with either a CCIE-service provider or another professional-level career service provider certification complete product training.
Gault added that the IPNGN specialization will get plenty of focus at the Cisco Partner Summit, April 16-19 in San Diego, and that partners should expect more details about IPNGN-specific incentives later this year.