Cisco To Partners: Accelerate The Core


The Navigate To Accelerate initiative, a collection of programs that instruct and enable partners to focus on finance, their customer base, changing needs and the future, was officially launched late last year. On Monday, Cisco added a bunch of programs aimed at enabling partners to focus on their customer base and the core networking gear they provide.

First, Cisco streamlined its Opportunity Incentive Program (OIP), a program through which solution providers register opportunities found or driven for deal protection and discounts. Essentially, the three existing OIP programs -- Advanced Technology OIP, SMB OIP and Core OIP -- have been collapsed into the U.S. OIP program.

John Growdon, Cisco senior director of worldwide channels, said reducing OIP into one program in the U.S. creates a more flexible and scalable offering. The U.S. OIP Program has a single set of terms and conditions and is open to all certified partners. Additionally, no specific product mix is required to register deals through OIP, and Cisco has lowered the deal size required for OIP to $10,000 list price. Growdon said Cisco also is allowing standard OIP deals to be booked in conjunction with trade-in components, an incentive that wasn't available before.

To target the $23 billion in global install base that is more than five years old, Cisco also adjusted its Core Accelerator Program. That program, which also launched in the U.S. in December, is designed to reward partners who sell core networking gear, such as routers and switches.

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Previously, the program offered partners a 5 percent back-end rebate on routers and a 10 percent rebate on switches when partners registered an opportunity through OIP. Now, Growdon said, Cisco has expanded the Core Accelerator program globally and has increased the incentive payment on qualified switching product sales to 15 percent. Core Accelerator is open to gold, silver and premier partners.

Cisco also has made adjustments to the warranty for its wiring closet gear, expanding the warranty from 90 days to a limited lifetime warranty for the Catalyst 3000-E and 4500 switches. Cisco also aligned its software policy across wiring closet switches, including the Catalyst 2000, 3000 and 4500 series. For base images, Cisco now offers lifetime support for bug fixes and minor enhancements, while premium images require service contracts for software updates.

Sherri Liebo, vice president of segment marketing for Cisco Services, said the warranty updates give VARs simplified and consistent offers for wiring closet gear while opening up an upsell opportunity.

"Partners can compete and position services appropriately," she said. "This allows partners to be more competitive selling our wiring closet switches. It really does offer a lower cost of entry."

Cisco also launched a new set of switching bundles designed to lower the price points. For example, on the modular switching side, Cisco is offering the 48-port Catalyst 4500 bundle for $11,000 and the 96-port version for $18,000. Cisco also reduced the price of the stackable Catalyst 2975 switches, chopping $3,000 off both the 48-port model and the 96-port model, which is two units of the 48-port switch, reducing the price to $10,000 and $20,000, respectively, with limited lifetime hardware warranty and base images. Cisco also is expected to launch the Catalyst 2960 LAN Lite PoE Switch in June with the 24- and 48-port models with limited lifetime hardware warranties and base images for between $1,295 and $3,495.

"We've gotten much more aggressive with different price points," Growdon said.

According to Growdon, all of the new programs are effective as of May 1.