8 New Cisco Cloud Incentives, Tools And Bundles That Partners Need To Know

5-Step Blueprint

Cisco's cloud strategy received a shot in the arm on Thursday as the network leader announced its new Hybrid Cloud Sales Play for the channel, which includes incentives such as a $10,000 free vacation for solution provider account managers and sales engineers.

"This basically simplifies our message, it clarifies our cloud strategy and it brings together all the elements of a multi-cloud world under one sales umbrella with a five-step process to success," said Scott Mohr, director of data center and cloud for Cisco's Global Partner Organization, in an interview with CRN. "This whole toolset that we put together will help partners not only get closer to customers, but also remain sticky with them and help them become that trusted advisor."

CRN breaks down the top eight things channel partners need to know about Cisco's new go-to-market cloud strategy.

'Trip Of A Lifetime'

Being touted as a "trip of a lifetime," partner sales engineers and account managers have the chance win a free, create your own $10,000 vacation. The program tracks the amount of sales around cloud services and UCS refreshes with its new M5 server line. From now until Jan. 27, 2018, the company will provide a total of 30 vacations to the top channel account managers and sales engineers in the United States. Partners can sign up for Playcation and register deals at Ciscoplaycation.com.

Free Business Cloud Advisor

To drive cloud adoption and partner services, Cisco is giving away its Business Cloud Advisor tool for free to channel partners. The software enables partners to assess an organization's cloud adoption level and associated business benefits in moving to the cloud relative to their industry peers by industry, company size and geography, as well as cost and time-to-market improvement estimates based on cloud adoption.

"The business cloud advisor tool, that's the kind of thing programmatically that the channel has needed around Cisco to really elevate our game – to have a business level conversation, migration conversation, etc.," said Jon Groves, CEO of Alexander Operating Systems, an Overland Park, Kan.-based solution provider and Cisco Gold partner.

Cloud Workshops

Cisco and certified trained partners will conduct Cloud Automation Strategy Workshops for the channel around the business cloud advisor software and driving cloud adoption. The goal is to train solution provider to be able to conduct a clear cloud migration and adoption plan to customer. "We're going to train partners on how to deliver cloud advisor workshops to their customers on their own," said Cisco's Mohr.

Cisco Offering Aid

The network leader is also offering up its own engineers and sales teams to partners to help map out the next cloud move for a customer. Mohr said the vendor can provide recommendations for multi-cloud management and advice on how partners can leverage new Cisco technology acquired through AppDynamics for application performance management as well as its new Workload Optimization Manager developed with Turbonomic.

Cisco Shogun

As part of the Hybrid Cloud Sales Play, Cisco is also extending its Cisco Shogun partner rewards program to the cloud. Shogun's point-based rewards systems allows channel sales engineers to redeem points earned from cloud sales for cash or other prizes.

CloudCenter-ACI Bundle

To drive greater cloud adoption and profitability for the channel, Cisco has bundled CloudCenter with its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), which is the company's software-defined networking solution that includes Nexus 9000 switches. CloudCenter is Cisco's application-centric cloud management solution gained from the vendor's acquisition of CliQr last year.

"So we also have a new low-cost entry point for ACI policy with cloud management. There's some real opportunities to leverage the Hybrid Cloud Sales Play to drive ACI enablement with our cloud providers," said Mohr.

CloudCenter HyperFlex Bundle

As part of Cisco's new cloud strategy, the networking giant has also bundled CloudCenter with all of its converged and hyperconverged infrastructure solutions, according to Mohr, including HyperFlex. The bundle includes Cisco's UCS 220 and UCS 240 rack servers with 100 and 200 virtual machine options.

"The bundle is a nice low-cost entry point for partners to deliver to customers so that we can not only get adoption, but also get them to leverage the management suite to attach to clouds," said Mohr. "We truly created a hybrid cloud bundle with CloudCenter and HyperFlex that's delivered today under a single SKU that partners can sell at an extended discount."

'Multicloud' World, Not Just Hybrid

The channel should get use to hearing the term "multicloud" from Cisco.

According to a Cisco commissioned study with research firm IDC of 30,000 executives across the globe, 81 percent of customers are evaluating or using public cloud; 73 percent have hybrid cloud strategy; and 84 percent will use multiple clouds. The multicloud world is not just about public and private cloud for customers, but things like Software-as-a-Service and managed clouds, Mohr said.

"As cloud is changing, multicloud is now a new term you're going to hear from Cisco along with hybrid cloud," said Mohr.