Cisco Systems is helping partners "sharpen their edge" by rewarding them for building distinct capabilities around software and building their recurring revenue, Marc Surplus, vice president of partner strategy and programs, told CRN.
Cisco DevNet, the company's online community platform helping developers write applications and develop integrations with Cisco products, is helping the giant transition into a software and services-focused company. It's also a huge opportunity for partners, Surplus said.
At Cisco Live in June, the tech giant unveiled a dedicated DevNet career certification track, the first-of-its kind individual career certification track for Cisco that software developers can use to demonstrate programmability expertise and software skills, similar to Cisco's CCIE certifications for technology. The track included a DevNet Associate level specialization, a DevNet Specialist level specialization and a DevNet Professional level specialization.
Cisco on Tuesday at its 2019 Partner Summit unveiled a new DevNet partner-level business specialisation for solution providers looking to continue to differentiate their organisation. Over time, Cisco the specialisation will include better access to resources, Surplus said.
"Given the need we've seen for customers looking for partners with those distinctive capabilities around programmability and the ability to build solutions on top of Cisco, we think the time is right to recognize partners with a badge that says they have those capabilities to support customers in the way they want to be supported," he said.
The latest DevNet partner specialization will be available in the fourth quarter of Cisco's fiscal 2020.
Business certifications and specializations, unlike Cisco's other tracks that focus on technology, are much more centered on the people, practice, and tools that are required to monetize on the innovation that's happening in the IT industry, Surplus said. The first business-focused specialization Cisco launched was Customer Experience, followed by DevNet.
Cisco Channel Chief Oliver Tuszik in June told CRN that DevNet is a partner game and that three-quarters of DevNet members are partners. Today, Cisco has 9,000 DevNet partners.
The Cisco partners that are taking advantage of DevNet today typically see three points higher growth in software, Surplus said. "The thing that we find from our most profitable partners is every dollar of hardware or service resale that they do on behalf of Cisco, they are able to attach 53 cents of application development professional services to that original sales -- that's a high-margin business," he added.
Cisco is also baking its DevNet professional certifications introduced in June into its requirements to maintain Cisco Gold partner status. The certification will available in February 2020 and Cisco will begin counting it towards the requirement for Gold status at that time.
"In our world, those people are just as important and relevant to the team partners have for technical capabilities, so we will be counting those toward the required level for partners to become or maintain Gold status," he said.