New Cisco Program Targets Partners That Want to Go Global

The networking vendor earlier this month rolled out its new Cisco Global Resale Agent model, an initiative that establishes policies and provides tools so solution providers can connect and work with Cisco partners in other geographies around the world.

"It's a concept we're hearing coming from partners around the world that are looking to drive growth in the future outside their own countries," said Keith Goodwin, senior vice president of worldwide channels at Cisco, during a keynote address at the vendor's Cisco Channel Exchange conference in Lisbon, Portugal earlier this month.

Solution providers are seeing their customers go multi-national and are looking for ways to evolve to keep up with globalization, Goodwin said.

The new program will help Cisco partners tap into new revenue opportunities they haven't yet been able to touch, said Bob Cagnazzi, CEO of BlueWater Communications Group, a New York-based Cisco partner.

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"It's a big opportunity for a lot of partners, maybe more so in New York," Cagnazzi said.

The new go-to-market strategy identifies the partner that initiates the deal as the "host" partner. The host partner can then search for "agent" partners in other countries to implement solutions locally. The host partner registers the deal via Cisco's Opportunity Incentive Program, finds the agents it wants to contract with and the two hammer out terms. Once the terms are agreed upon, Cisco validates that the agent partner has the necessary skill sets and certifications to fulfill the contract. Then the agent partner implements and delivers the solution on behalf of the host partner.

Host partners will be able to locate agent partners using Cisco's Partner Exchange, an online collaboration tool where partners can define their practices and capabilities and delineate what individual certifications they have on staff.

Cisco is currently piloting the program with 150 customers and has identified approximately 225 solution providers to take part in the program, said Alex Thurber, senior director of technology go-to-market for Cisco, San Jose, Calif. Partners must be at least Premier-certified to participate, he said.

"I think it will help us in countries where we don't have a physical presence," said Riordan Maynard, CEO of Touchbase Group, a Denver-based Cisco partner that has multiple locations across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Maynard said the main difficulty in working with other partners is keeping the relationship going long-term.

"The real problem is that you can't predict the deal flow. If you set up a contract, and it's a one-off, then both sides lose interest," Maynard said. "The challenge is keeping the relationship fresh."