10 Moneymaking Opportunities For Cisco Partners From Its New DNA

Cisco's New Services-Centric DNA

Cisco is opening the door to an array of new professional services that its channel community can offer customers with the launch of its service-centric Digital Network Architecture (DNA).

DNA is based on automation, virtualization, analytics, managed services and open APIs -- all delivered within the Cisco One Software suite. The San Jose, Calif.-based networking leader is encouraging its 70,000 channel partners to become digital leaders to drive business outcomes for their customers as networking shifts toward software.

"There's an immense amount of professional services opportunity by consulting and working with their customers to architect the right digital network environment," said Nirav Sheth, senior director for Cisco's Americas Partner Organization, in an interview with CRN. "DNA provides a much stronger platform and a continued platform for partners to sell into the lines of businesses, while they continue to win selling into IT."

Sheth breaks down for CRN 10 moneymaking opportunities springing from DNA, including additional rebates, software bundles, a new Capital Easy Pay structure, a free data platform and a host of new recurring-revenue services.

New DNA Rebates

Sheth said Cisco has a host of profitability programs aligned with DNA that give partners upfront deal margin and discount points when they're searching for opportunities as well as ways partners can maximize back-end rebates.

"We upped the back-end rebates opportunity, especially for our Gold partners for the key products that are aligned to DNA," said Sheth.

DNA will be included in many of Cisco's popular incentive programs, including VIP (Value Incentive Program), according to Sheth.

Accelerate Refreshes

"DNA is a terrific way to accelerate their install-based refresh opportunity," said Sheth.

Sheth said DNA provides the ability for customers to make more money, save money and better secure their environments through ways such as Cisco's new software stacks. "This enables partners to drive a more focused and accelerated refresh conversation," he said.

New Cisco One Offer Stacks

To help accelerate customer refreshes, Cisco is creating new software stacks embedded with security that Sheth says will reduced the total cost of ownership for businesses.

"We're taking everything and building offer stacks that make it easy for our partners to go to market with us," said Sheth. "There's offer stacks around workforce experience, offer stacks around security, offer stacks around customer experience, branch agility is another example. So those stacks built with Cisco One are customizable for either small, medium or large [sales contracts]. So partners have the immense amount of flexibility to package all these things together and deliver an offer stack based on what the customer is looking to achieve."

Cisco Capital Easy Pay

To help push the new refresh cycle, the networking giant is launching Cisco Capital Easy Pay structures.

"These are three-year leases that our partners can position to the customer, where the customer pays 90 percent of the value of the product and it turns into a three-year lease at a zero percent interest rate," said Sheth. "For customers, it's an immense amount of choice whether they want to go CapEx or OpEx, and know there's penalties if they end up going CapEx."


As part of DNA, Cisco launched a new automation platform, APIC-EM, which consists of a new version of Cisco's enterprise controller that has been retooled for greater scale and resiliency, with a broad set of network services and device support.

"We believe automation and APIC-EM is so compelling, we want every customer and every partner to take advantage of it. So we're distributing that completely free -- the platform and the base automation services are free ," said Robert Soderbery, senior vice president of Cisco's Enterprise Products and Solutions. "Everybody can take advantage of that today. So if you're a partner, that includes things like Plug And Play cloud."

Plug And Play

Plug and Play is a zero-touch provisioning automation service, available on-premise and cloud-managed, that removes the need for any staging for preconfiguration or truck rollouts to remote locations, according to Cisco.

Plug and Play sits on Cisco routers and switches talking directly to the network controller, which reduces deployment time from weeks to days, according to Soderbery.

Cloud Service Management

Cisco is now offering CMX (connected mobile experience) Cloud, which provides Software-as-a-Service management for Cisco wireless infrastructures to help customers accelerate adoption of advanced network services.

"It's a cloud-based service management for Cisco wireless infrastructure that allows you to take advantage of location and presence analytics, using the cloud-based GUI and management system working on any Cisco wireless infrastructure," said Soderbery. "It's simple and easy to deploy."

Ready Assessment Service, Partners Reimbursed

Cisco is launching new Digital Ready Assessment software that assesses a customer's environment and evaluates how ready the client is for digital capabilities.

"When our partner's technical talent goes ... and runs the assessment, we're also going to be reimbursing them for that assessment," said Sheth.

Sheth said the reimbursement will be available for partners in most major regions in the world, including the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia/Pacific.

Partner Enablement Opportunities Around DNA

Cisco says it has a host of enablement opportunities available for its channel around DNA.

"As we launch DNA and we take it to market, we have a host of things that we're doing, ranging from Webinars to road shows, so our partners can continue to come up to speed," said Sheth. "We're launching a brand-new training capability and training offer that's going to be available to our partners on demand."


DNA enables the Cisco partner community to develop highly custom solutions for customers, according to Sheth. "Because of the software innovation and exposing the APIs, it enables our partners -- especially those partners that have software practice capabilities -- to come in and innovate on top of DNA. To build custom solutions, provide custom analytics, or build custom workflows to further provide the outcome the customer is looking for," said Sheth.

He said Cisco is committed to open APIs and interfaces at every level of the DNA architecture. "We fully expect that every single partner driving enterprise networking is going to be on this DNA journey with us," said Sheth.