Cisco is reducing the frequency with which it audits its top-level partners from every year to every three years, much to some partners' delight.
At the moment, top-level Cisco partners at Gold or Masters levels are checked up on by Cisco once a year to ensure they have the right technical and training accrediations, which Cisco said caused partners a lot of hassle.
At its Cisco Partner Summit in Montreal, Cisco's senior vice president for worldwide channels, Bruce Klein, said partner feedback has prompted it to ease up.
"Audits - you all talk about audits like ‘oh my god, it takes a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of effort', so we are changing audits from every one year to every three years," he said, prompting cheers and applause from some in the audience. "You love that!"
Steve Benvenuto, Cisco's senior director for business development, said the change will not make it easier to become a Cisco Gold partner and that it will not dilute the badge's value.
"When you talk to the partners, they are very consistent in telling us that it should not be easy to become a Cisco partner, they actually value that it's challenging to become a Cisco partner and so sometimes we raise the bar to become a Cisco partner," he said.
"They like that because they don't want thousands of competitors all on the same deal. But what they said to us was ‘once I am in the club, treat me like a member'. So they're saying to us ‘make it easier... to maintain the competencies that I have', so that is what we are doing here.
"We are not making it easier to become a Cisco partner, so it is still hard to get into the club, but once you're in... there are ways we can make it easier."
Elsewhere at the conference, Cisco took the wraps off a new partner programme which focuses on software, which will be ready to go live at the start of 2016.
Cisco said nine of the last 10 firms it has acquired have been software companies, proving its commitment to the area. It said now is the right time to get partners on board with its software goals.
"During the past couple of years, we've doubled down on software innovations through new product introductions," said Klein. "Our actions reinforce our words by demonstrating a commitment to enabling customer transformation, harnessing new growth opportunities, and providing greater agility through software.
"Now it's time to ignite our partner ecosystem. The new Cisco Software Partner Programme helps current and new partners capture profitable revenue streams and build competencies around software. This programme provides partners with enablement resources, incentives, benefits and rewards to capitalise on the large software opportunity."
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