Simplicity was a big theme at this year’s Cisco Partner Summit, highlighted by a new partner program the vendor says will radically consolidate a number of programs into one. But Cisco partners with the ability to remember beyond the three decades that have been 2020 all the way back to fall of 2019 and Partner Summit 2019 know the vendor is on another path of simplification — one that will unite even more aspects of the partner experience into a single place.
At last year’s Partner Summit, global channel chief Oliver Tuszik described efforts to combine more than 150 disparate tools to which Cisco partners have access into a single platform that will become the go-to place for Cisco’s partner offerings from marketing tools to training to ultimately data insights for partners.
So far, the company has slashed the number of tools and dashboards for partners by about 35 percent, said José van Dijk, vice president of performance and partner operations in Cisco’s Global Partner Organization. And at this year’s Partner Summit, it announced the next step in the effort, the debut of what it calls the Partner Experience Platform or PXP, the place that will be the long-dreamed-of one-stop-shop for Cisco partner enablement, training, dashboards, and ultimately, running their joint business with Cisco.
“PXP will connect all of our partners with easy-to-use one-stop-shop access to all capabilities to efficiently drive digital acceleration,” van Dijk said.
Van Dijk described the platform as “its digital house” for partners, the platform on which it has united its partner tools and into which new partner tools and dashboards will arrive. At launch, the platform will cover seven broad swaths of its partner business: collaboration, communication, enablement, incentive, performance, renewal, and registration.
“We want to make sure we deliver a single source of truth from a single digital platform,” van Dijk said.
She stressed that over the last year, PXP has been “co-developed” with Cisco partners, and it answers key partners requests around making working with Cisco simpler. And the platform will continue to evolve, she said. Already, van Dijk says, the platform is set to debut new capabilities around demand generation, partner benchmarking, and partner business planning in the next year. While most of these new functionalities will be replacing and in some cases upgrading existing functionality, the arrival of that functionality in PXP will mean retiring a separate tool, a win for partner simplicity.
Andrew Caprara, senior vice president for strategy and business development at Softchoice, said that move towards simplicity — both in the partner program itself and in PXP — is welcomed. For example, he said, the solution provider has a person whose primary role is managing vendor relationships — making sure the company is on top of the training and certification it needs, and navigating the various tools available to manage the relationship.
“Now, as we move forward, we can actually free that person up to add value to the business, to actually bring insights into what’s coming out of the tools,” Caprara said. “The simplicity that’s coming there is really going to help us.”
PXP is currently in beta testing with a small number of Cisco partners and is slated to be made available to the whole Cisco partner base on Nov. 30.