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Cisco Partner Journeys Launched To Ease Partner Business Transformation

“We’re hearing from [partners]: ’Gee, Cisco is really complicated. The transformation is complicated. I wish I had a map.‘ That’s where this whole thing starts,” Julia Chen, Cisco’s VP of partner transformation, tells CRN.

There are a lot of facets around channel partner transformation. Different solution providers are going down different paths and focusing on new areas and buying models, including managed services and everything-as-a-service, to better serve their customers. But partners need help finding the right resources in the right place to guide them as they change and grow their businesses, according to Cisco Systems.

The tech giant this month rolled out Cisco Partner Journeys, a new platform that supports partners across five different transformation “journeys” or paths, including creating and selling business outcomes, building a lifecycle practice, or adopting new buying models or co-selling alongside other partners. The platform consolidates content, resources, tools and processes from Cisco with instructions for partners on how to take advantage of each resource, said Julia Chen, Cisco’s vice president of partner transformation.

Within the four walls of Cisco, the tech giant is changing its our own business model to support new trends and buying behaviors, including its systems, pricing, sales motions and partner enablement. But partners have to do the same, Chen said.

“We’re hearing from [partners]: ‘Gee, Cisco is really complicated. The transformation is complicated. I wish I had a map.’ That’s where this whole thing starts,” she said.

[Related: 5 New Cisco Webex Devices, Features Revealed This Spring ]

The five journeys available in the initial launch of the platform include: Co-Sell with Cisco’s Ecosystem, Build on Cisco, Qualify your solution for the Meraki Marketplace, Up-level your marketing, and Build a managed services practice leveraging Cisco Elevate. Partners can pick which path they‘d like to pursue on their own time and follow the roadmap for each of the five journeys.

“We‘re trying to make it easier … by allowing [partners] to have a roadmap for whichever journey they want and it’s stitching together a lot of the relevant collateral -- the tools, the programs, the resources, the website -- in a map for them for whichever one that they want to use,” Chen said.

The “Co-Sell with Cisco’s Ecosystem” involves partners learning how to develop a multi-partner, co-selling sales motion with either fellow MSPs or Cisco’s technology partners, like Microsoft, to help the solution provider reach new buying centers and grow their businesses. Chen called this path “super important” to partners right now as they transform their own businesses.

“Build on Cisco” guides partners through the processes, tools, and resources required to build on Cisco’s platforms and gives partners a place to showcase their unique services or offers. Cisco partners interested in building on the Cisco platform before had to go through Cisco DevNet, a popular but technical developer program for many partners that doesn’t fully address how partners can engage with Cisco more holistically on a combined solution, Chen said.

In the “Qualify your solution for the Meraki Marketplace” journey, partners can learn about Meraki‘s ecosystem partner API requirements and prepare both its business and technical review to qualify their solution for the Meraki Marketplace. Chen said that the Meraki portfolio has “been on fire” with partners in recent years.

Partners on the “Up-level your Marketing” path can walk partners through Cisco Marketing Velocity’s suite of enablement tools to develop a successful, holistic co-marketing campaign with Cisco, Chen said.

Lastly, the Build a managed services practice leveraging Cisco Elevate journey gives solution providers access to programs, offers, and solutions to win over SMB customers with their managed services practices. Like the Co-sell journey, the managed services path is highly sought after right now with partners, Chen said, noting that the majority of Cisco’s reseller partners are building up managed services practices right now.

The goal of Cisco Partner Journeys, which have been accessed by about 600 users so far, is to simplify the partner experience, not recreate content or tools, Chen said.

“This is all Cisco dirty laundry, but as you go into Cisco websites, you see all these things. A playbook here, a video there … This isn’t rocket science. It’s not like [Cisco] reinvented networking. But I do think that it will actually make a huge difference in a partner’s experience,” she said.

The Cisco Partner Journeys is user-friendly for both existing partners and even prospective partners of all sizes, and the modules are all self-service. The platform will evolve each quarter to include more features and resources based on partner feedback, said Patrick Heenan, senior global solutions manager of Partner Ecosystem Acceleration.

The platform’s modules live on its own homepage but are also embedded into 20 different areas across Cisco’s websites, including the partner portal so partners don‘t have to go to a separate place to access the journeys, Heehan said. Cisco has more journeys or partner paths slated to roll out between now and 2024, he added.

 

 

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