Cisco has announced its new channel partner programme with a focus on value-add, not volume, and is also allowing more flexibility to reseller partners in determining their own skill sets.
This week saw the launch of the network giant's first new partner programme in eight years, scheduled to be running by June next year. It is open to existing Cisco premier, silver and gold partners. New partners must join the existing scheme before 29 June to be eligible to migrate.
Paris Arey, Europe, Middle East and Africa managing director of channels at Cisco, said: "The current scheme has been running for eight years with minor modifications only. We looked at the changing marketplace and input from partners when designing the new service-based approach."
Peter Judge, directing analyst at Europe Infonetics Research, told Computer Reseller News: "The fact that Cisco is changing its partner programme into a more service-based model says a lot about how the industry is changing."
He added that IT departments are now less likely to buy, install and manage equipment because outsourcing is becoming more prevalent due to a lack of skills.
Cisco has also recognised the difficulty that some resellers have when attempting to become fully accredited technical partners.
"In our current model we are vigorous about our partners having specific Cisco Certified Internet Experts within their workforce," said Arey. "But because achieving this meant big risks and challenges for resellers we have decided to be more flexible."
But Mick Keeble, sales manager at systems integrator Croft, a premier Cisco partner, described it as a Catch 22 situation. "To be viable you need to sell Cisco and be accredited. To finish the training courses costs money, and small resellers may struggle," he explained.
Judge said: "The new system will be more inclusive but might lead to a new tier of accreditation being created if partners are concerned about competitors becoming accredited quicker."
First published in Computer Reseller News
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