New Cisco Partner Accelerators: Revving Up Cross-Platform Sales

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Major Cisco partners that focus on business architecture opportunities and invest across various Cisco lines will get more resources this year for targeting cross-platform sales of products and services from Cisco and its strategic allies.

It's all part of a branding initiative Cisco describes as Smart Solutions, in which it will offer advanced training and channel support for partners that design, sell and implement major solutions around Cisco-led architectures.

The concept was first mentioned at the Cisco Partner Summit in April, with the idea being that Cisco partners that invest in several major Cisco lines, and sell relevant technologies from Cisco "ecosystem" partners such as Citrix, could use more of a backstop from Cisco's sales and technical teams to help them design and implement those more-sophisticated, architecture-centric customer solutions. The incentives themselves are described as Solution Partner Accelerators.

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Cisco has identified Smart Solutions in the areas of virtual desktop infrastructure, BYOD and remote management. The idea is that each Smart Solution will draw on several Cisco and partner technology buckets -- mobility and collaboration, for example, are both key to BYOD solutions -- and partners will position them not as a set of products but as solving a particular business problem.

Smart Solutions, conceptually, is not a traditional Cisco program as much as it is a way to organize Cisco's cross-platform products and services and identify how Cisco can help partners sell with them in mind, according to Paul Mountford, senior vice president, global enterprise market, who confirmed more details of the Smart Solutions initiative in an exclusive interview with CRN in July.

"Technology used to be a black art: people prepared to pay for connecting everything together, and that's how it was done," Mountford said. "But today it's more about, 'How can you deliver it and then stay with me to make it a core part of my business?' We're reflecting the view of the customer and the view of Cisco here. These are big deals. They aren't like buying a hamburger."

The first Solution Partner Accelerator launched June 25 and focused on virtual desktop infrastructure, specifically the Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure with Citrix's XenDesktop VDI platform. Solution Partner Accelerators relevant to BYOD and remote management frameworks will begin to arrive later this fall, according to Cisco, San Jose, Calif.

Cisco requires nothing "extra" of partners to access the Solution Partner Accelerators; what they need is the relevant Cisco and third-party vendor certifications to sell the necessary technologies and services.

NEXT: Smart Solutions And Cisco's Architecture Approach

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