Cisco CX Partner Framework For MSPs ‘Moves Dial From Reactive, To Proactive, Predictive And Prescriptive’

The changes that Cisco’s customer experience (CX) and partner managed services teams are making are aimed at streamlining and simplification for MSPs growing their practices with Cisco, executives tell CRN at Cisco Partner Summit 2023.

Cisco Systems at Partner Summit 2023 has introduced its first-ever support offer for MSPs and is revamping its Partner Lifecycle Services (PLS) motion to reflect the larger role partners will have in delivering managed and support services to end customers.

All the changes are being made in the name of simplification, Cisco executives told CRN.

Partner Advanced Support for Providers gives MSPs more choices and higher levels of support so that they can proactively prevent disruptions, speed time to resolution with faster access to the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC), and to help their customers reach their outcomes faster with guided API support, according to San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco.

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“It’s hard to imagine that [as of 2021], the only way we helped partners solve problems for their customers was through email and telephone calls and here we are talking about digital transformation,” said Denzil Samuels, Cisco’s vice president of global CX partner success.

There are now hundreds of Cisco partners that are part of PLS, which is being renamed CX Partner Framework, Samuels said. These partners have a digital interface between their ticketing and IT service management environment and Cisco’s IT service management environment that allows Cisco to share information, automation, and AI with partners in ways the company could never do before, he added.

“Now, when the customer calls [a partner] and they open a problem ticket, Cisco instantly sees it. And it’s not just a general TAC group -- it’s a specialized group of architects that can see it. So, we can now help them diagnose some of these issues in real-time and come up with a solution in real-time, and this is the game changer for us in the market,” Samuels said.

The rebrand gives MSPs access to more advanced support that goes beyond reacting to problems, he said. “We’re really moving the dial from reactive to proactive to predictive to even prescriptive.”

[Related: Cisco Solution Specializations, New Incentives Will Align Partners With ‘Subscription Economy’: Exec ]

New Partner Managed-Ready Offers and Success Tracks

The tech giant is launching three new Success Tracks, Cisco’s packaged services that connect businesses with the right expertise, insight, learning and support, and what Samuels referred to as the “stepping stones” to the CX Partner Framework. The three new tracks include: Collaboration Devices, Wide Area Network (WAN) including SD-WAN and Cloud Networking.

“I think these are going to get on really well with partners,” Samuels said. That’s because many Cisco partners aren’t interested in simple resale opportunities. They want to combine their own services with Cisco’s products and brand their own offerings, he said.

“The reason why it’s great for the partners to resell Cisco Success Tracks is because they understand how to position the sale, they understand the value of it, they get insights into what’s going on because they can see the PX cloud and the CX cloud data and [see] the outcomes we’re driving to the customer. So, by the time we’ve got partner-branded version ready, their sales teams are already enabled, their delivery teams understand how and what we’ve been doing, and their development teams know how to develop and create net new services. So, we’re actually strongly recommending: ‘Start with Cisco Success Track. We understand you want to get your own delivered version of that. But by watching and learning and seeing what we do, it actually puts you one step closer to being able to do that,’” Samuels said.

Cisco’s existing four Success Tracks include: Campus Network, Cloud Network, Data Center Compute and Integrated Secure Operations.

If that wasn’t enough, the tech giant is unveiling three new partner managed-ready offers: Managed XDR and Managed Firewall. Cisco is also launching an MSP Expressway for SMB offer to help partners take advantage of the growing SMB market opportunity, said Alexandra Zagury, vice president of partner managed services and as-a-service sales.

The three new offers will join the existing managed-ready offers that have been rolled out over the last year: Managed Full-stack Observability, Managed Intelligent Workspaces, Managed Private 5G and Sovereign Cloud.

Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider and Cisco partner Trace3 builds its own managed services offerings, but it will situationally take advantage of partner managed-ready offers from Cisco after evaluating the needs of the customer.

“I think it’s a really great announcement for Cisco to launch more of these packaged, managed solutions. Because like companies Trace3, we’re trying to grow our managed services contracts and so adding more to that portfolio, especially with all the business that we do with Cisco? It can’t hurt … and we can add pieces and parts to get to that final solution,” said Steve Wylie, senior vice president and general manager, East Majors, for Trace3.

The point of the changes that Cisco’s customer experience (CX) and partner managed services teams are making is aimed at streamlining and simplification, Cisco’s Samuels said.

As part of the effort from Cisco’s CX and partner managed services teams, Cisco Lifecycle Advantage (CLA), a digital engagement program for partners that promotes adoption and makes renewal and upsell opportunities easier, is becoming part of Cisco’s Partner Experience Platform (PXP) to give partners one place to find information, Samuels said.

“Now from PX cloud, they can manage the relationship with Cisco, they can get insights into what’s going on with their customers, they can look at lifecycle data, all the way to actually even helping to develop and create their own services,” he said.

The updates showcase the alignment between partner-managed and the CX motion -- Zagury and Samuels’ teams, Zagury said.

“I think that is so important because we both want the same thing in the end,” she said. “It’s all about the services stack and creating, selling, and differentiating.”