LAS VEGAS – In the midst of introducing Cisco’s next generation channel partner program, Edison Peres, the senior vice president of channels for the San Jose, Calif.-based company dropped a bombshell at the Partner Summit conference. Cisco is retiring the silver tier on April 1st, 2016 impacting approximately 300 channel partners.
Current silver designated channel partners will have to decide increase their investments in becoming a Gold partner, which is the top level tier or strive for the Master’s specialization.
As a fall back silver partners can choose to move into the Premier certification level if they have a focus on hybrid clouds.
Edison Peres, the channel chief and senior vice president of worldwide channels for Cisco, said the company plans to provide 24 months for silver partners to move over to the available designations that fit their business.
“We are moving to three designations and retiring the silver brand. Select is our entry level brand. Premier will be the heart of all certified partners and Gold will have the strongest breath brand. We will be working with silver partners to transition them to Gold or become Master partners. We are going to put in more incentives on the Master brand. We are going to position Master to be as good as Gold,” Peres said.
Peres anticipates 60 per cent of the silver partners will move to the Gold tier.
Gold partners will have to do more to stay inside there tier. The new requirements will mean Cisco Gold partners attain four new product certifications and incorporate a hybrid IT business model.
They must also be able to sell to line of business buyers and have at least one business value practitioner on the team. Cisco is offering a special that will pay 80 per cent of the training costs for this person in the next six to 12 months.
Those four product areas include cloud and managed services such as Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution, WebEx, Meraki, and Cisco Cloud Web Security.
As for the next generation Cisco channel partner program, solution providers will see more rewards for adopting consumption models such as hybrid IT or finding new buying centres. This new program will also see a renewed emphasis on certifications and specializations. For example, Cisco is enhancing its specialization portfolio to help solution providers create more value on delivering outcomes instead of basic product transactions.
There will be two new Master specializations for enterprise networks and service provider technology. Other specializations will include FlexPod, VSPEX or VBlock and desktop virtualization.
“The game is two-fold with change. We are help in catching those market transitions, while working together to make the transitions happen. Second is about helping you drive more value to the business and develop services as well as to drive more profitability with higher valuations,” Peres said.