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Cisco Canada alters its channel philosophy

Former Cisco Canada president Bernadette Wightman

TORONTO – Cisco has maintained a channel philosophy based on partner profitability since 2001, when the company completely overhauled its go-to-market strategy in favour of the channel.

But that’s about to change somewhat. Cisco has recently introduced a new incentive program named CAIP or Collaboration Adoption Incentive Program. CAIP is asking partners to deliver business outcomes along with end user adoption.

The Value Incentive Program (VIP) isn’t going away, but Cisco is trying to address market shift to cloud and away from on-premise computing with CAIP.

CAIP is tied to the Cisco Unified Communications Manager product and gives authorized solution providers a rebate for taking collaboration customers through a formal software adoption process. To qualify partners need to complete Lifecycle Management Adoption training and have a case study made available.

This program is subject to the availability of funds and has an end date of July 30, 2016, which is just a two months from now. However, Cisco reserves the right to extend the program at any time.

Cisco Canada president Bernadette Wightman confirmed to CDN at the Cisco Connect show in Toronto that the networking giant is looking for solution providers who can deliver the right outcomes. She this new move as a new way to measure performance.

“To be honest the partners here in Canada are already really good at it. We too had to go through our own transformation for our sales teams based on outcome selling. It is different than before, but we are learning some fabulous stuff even from our own channel partners,” Wightman said.

Cisco Canada is providing extra resources for channel partners to help them get to those line of business decision markers. Cisco is working on finalizing what those “outcomes” need to be and the value is for them.

Former Cisco Canada partner John Breakey has started a company called Fivel to help solution providers solve the user adoption and engagement challenges from vendors. Breakey sold his solution provider business called Unis Lumin to Softchoice back in 2011.

According to Fivel, CAIP is a radically different program for Cisco. CAIP attempts to address two market shifts with cloud based revenue and revenue derived from user-based apps such as Spark.

The challenge, as Fivel sees it, from a channel perspective is partners must transition out of a compensation model where it pays at the time of sale to a new model where those same dollars earned is spread over three years.

Fivel has developed a solution to help solution providers improve its value-add services, while also impacting the bottom line for partners with Cisco.

CDN is working on a full length article about Fivel. Look for that online at CDN’s Web site channeldailynews.com.