Cisco’s Partner Conference Emphasizes Observability, Security, SMB and MSP

At Cisco’s Partner Conference, it announced a new Emphasis on Full Stack Observability (FSO), Security, End-to-End/Solutions selling, IoT/Industrial, SMB, MSP, Sustainability/Take-Back, and. Additionally, Cisco enhanced its Partner Experience Platform (PXP) to enable partners to optimize their practice and drive growth, emphasizing recurring revenue. We see this conference as a clear indication that Cisco is focusing further on software and subscriptions (Observability and security) and on generating longer-term relationships with partners (MSPs) and customers (EA).

Full Stack Observability (FSO). The company emphasized Full Stack Observability (FSO), which is more critical because it announced plans to acquire Splunk, a leader in the Observability market. At the conference, Cisco highlighted various partners who will work with its observability system, including:

  • Evolutio Insurance Claims Management Module
  • Evolutio Ecommerce Management Module
  • CloudFabrix SAP Landscape Visibility Module
  • Nobl9 SLO Observability Module
  • DataRobot & Evolutio MLOps Module
  • Climatiq Public Cloud Sustainability Module
  • CloudFabrix Campus Analytics Module

Cisco also announced partners who offer deep SAP integration.

Security. The emphasis is “End to end” and “simplicity.” Partners can earn up to 30% blended margins selling Cisco security offerings. The company is doubling VIP rebates in certain key security-related areas.
The company highlighted various Specializations that offer incentives for selling partners. These include:

Solutions. The company explained that it is moving its Go-To-Market (GTM) selling strategies toward Solutions, so it changed its Specializations. The company is not just about “what we are selling” and product-focused “Architectures.” In the future, Solutions will be how partners and customers will be “how they consume it.” Cisco explains that, as a result of this GTM change, it is evolving towards Solutions, and therefore, it is de-emphasizing Architectural-focused selling incentives in the coming years. For its first planned Architecture Specialization, it will End-Of-Life (EOL) the Data Center Architecture Specialization by July ’24. Other Architecture Specializations will EOL in the coming years, but timelines haven’t been announced.

Managed Service Providers (MSPs). Cisco has been investing in partner-managed services as a key route to market for the company. This business has created multiple partner managed-ready offerings, including new Managed XDR, a Managed Firewall, an MSP Expressway play targeted to SMBs, a Secure Networking Campaign using various products and services such as Meraki MX, Cisco Firewall, and Cisco CDO (Cisco Defense Coordinator), and Partner Advanced Support—the first ever support offer for MSPs to provide more choice for partners who want faster TAC access and guided API support. These enhancements build on a partner program with rewards and incentives for MSPs, specializations to help MSPs highlight and differentiate their expertise in Cisco technologies, and expanded buying programs, such as Managed Services Enterprise Agreement (MSEA) and Managed Services License Agreement (MSLA), which now also includes the availability of AppDynamics (part of Cisco’s FSO offering) on the MSLA.

Partner Experience Platform (PXP). Cisco’s partner relationship management platform will offer new and expanded value like “Growth Finder,” including insights to drive Enterprise Agreements (EA) consolidation, new EA opportunities, and upsell and cross-sell opportunities. PXP will also offer increased insights and automation via telemetry integration to drive customer lifecycle adoption and renewals. Generally, Cisco designed the PXP to help partners optimize and differentiate their Cisco practices while continuing to drive a simplified experience.

Sustainability. Cisco has offered a Product Takeback and Return program at no cost to customers for decades. Partners can participate in Cisco’s global commitment to 100% product return upon request at no cost through the Environmental Sustainability Specialization (ESS) program. ESS partners in participating countries are exclusively eligible for new incentive offers, including incremental discounts between 4-7% on new products registered, with a commitment to return the used hardware to Cisco. The ESS program, which, as we understand it, can only be accessed through the Partner Experience Platform (PXP). The company said that the Take-Back Incentive alone has resulted in hundreds of millions of potential deal pipeline generation.