Cisco adds Global Gold partner tier

Marc Surplus, vice president of strategy, planning and programs for Cisco’s Global Partner Organization

Marc Surplus, vice president of strategy, planning and programs for Cisco’s Global Partner Organization

Cisco Systems has a new top tier to its partner program, one designed to make it easier for its biggest partners to do business around the world.

The networking giant has introduced Global Gold as its highest partner program tier. Global Gold aims to recognize partners with worldwide presence by allowing them to more easily expand that presence. In essence, Global Gold is available to partners that have presence in countries in each of Cisco’s four global theatres (Americas, EMEAR, APJ, and Greater China) to present themselves as a Gold partner worldwide, including countries where the partner does not specifically hold Gold status.

“We’re providing partners with a lot more flexibility to think about how and where they deploy their highly-skilled, highly-talented people,” said Marc Surplus, vice president of strategy, planning and programs for Cisco’s Global Partner Organization. “It gives partners who want to go to market globally more flexibility to do it in a way that’s cost-effective and recognizes how partners cover geographies today.”

Under the program, Surplus said rather than requiring Gold partners to have people in-country in a given nation to have Gold status, they can create “centres of excellence” in a given region, including partner CCIEs and business value practitioners, pooling resources to be deployed across the region.

As well as the usual Gold parnter benefits, Global Gold partners will get access to more resources, to global-level incentives, and will be able to purchase directly from Cisco.

Surplus said the company has five partners already signed up, and most solution providers can probably guess who they are. (Dimension Data is quoted in the blog post announcing Global Gold, so we’ll spot you that one.) And while the global nature of the program means it won’t by any means be a big-tent program, Surplus said Cisco is currently in conversations with “twice or three times” that amount.

“We have a number of partners assessing the value exchange and the investments they need to make,” he said. “I think, as we get more traction, we’ll see those conversations accelerate.”

While the new tier focuses on global-level partners, Surplus said the launch “in no way detracts from the value that local partners bring in their market.”

And when it comes to partners playing on a global scale, Global Gold is likely not to be the end of the efforts. As trends like cloud and the related production of repeatable partner solutions and other intellectual property are driving more partners to think on a global scale, Surplus signaled that Cisco would look at ways to help other partners expand their geographic footprint with the vendor.

“We have a lot of local, country-based Gold partners that have customer that want to work with that partner in other markets. For those partners, Global Gold may not fit, but we want to entertain the customer’s choice in partner they want to work with,” Surplus said. “In the coming months, we’ll be making that happen with a way to more readily suppose their customers on a global basis.”