Cisco has committed to moving from a transactional to a lifecycle approach with the help of partners.
The networking giant used its 2019 Partner Summit to announce two new customer entitlements for enterprise agreements (EA); Solution Starter and Upgrader Starter, that will boost channel business.
Under the new entitlements, when a customer buys a new enterprise networking solution, signs up to an EA, or upgrades an existing data centre solution, they can draw upon partner services to help get up and running quickly. Both the Solution Starter and Upgrade Starter are available to customers and include free hardware and software, as well as an entitlement for the end-customer to a partner' help, said Marc Surplus, Cisco's vice president of partner strategy and programs.
"Increasingly, customers are looking for partners that can automate the network differently to really build on top of Cisco as a platform to deliver outcomes," Surplus said. "[The customer entitlements] will give partners market recognition and differentiation. Customers will be able to see the partners that can give them the cutting-edge innovation they need to make their customers successful."
Customers buying an enterprise networking or intent-based networking enterprise agreement are not only going to get the new capabilities they want, but now, the end customer will have a credit for services that they can invest with their reselling partner, said Nirav Sheth, vice president of worldwide sales and systems engineering for Cisco's Global Partner Organisation.
"That partner now has an immediate bounty they can go after with their customer to start the customer on their journey," Sheth said. "Partners will then get rewarded for getting the customer to a proof of concept level, and then we are also going to be rewarding the partner as the customer continues to adopt more capabilities or expand their footprint."
Customers are leaning heavily on channel partners for help with the entire IT experience. Most profit comes post-landing the deal because it's about what happens after a customer chooses to adopt a new technology, Surplus said.
Partners that are in Cisco's lifecycle advisor program are growing two times faster when compared to partners outside the program, and as a result, these partners have been earning about five percent higher recurring revenue which helps their overall profitability, he said.
The real opportunity for partners with the two new entitlements, Surplus said, lies in helping customers more actively use the solutions in a production environment, selling their value-added services to the customer, and help them across the entire lifecycle.
"Not only does it help customers, but it helps partners as they build out new professional services to be profitability and so they can position them successfully with customers in more of an ongoing practice framework," he said. "We think they are really going to be a game-changer for partners investing in the lifecycle-first approach and profiting from driving these lifecycle services."