Cisco recently added a new certification tier that the company said makes it easier for partners to do business in the international marketplace. The Cisco global certification effort, dubbed Global Gold, currently involves a handful of partners, but that number could expand in light of new qualification criteria.
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Prior to Global Gold, Cisco partners were globally certified if they achieved certified partner status within a certain number of countries in each Cisco geographic region: Americas; Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia; Asia Pacific/Japan and Greater China. A key change with the new certification tier is that partners will be able to achieve Global Gold status if they create a center of excellence within each region.
In the past, Cisco was “very much anchored in certification by country,” noted Marc Surplus, vice president, partner strategy, planning and programs, at Cisco’s Global Partner Organization. Now, with the new certification tier, partners can focus their expertise and resources in a single center of excellence, rather than maintain certifications in a collection of countries within each geographic region.
Global sales and support
The new Cisco global certification program lets partners “have greater simplicity in how they sell and support customers” around the world, Surplus said. The certification tier also recognizes the demand among multinational customers for “one partner to support them with solutions delivery and support,” he said.
“Partners want to go to market globally and customers want partners who can support them globally,” he added.
Surplus said the five Cisco partners that currently hold global certifications meet the requirements for Global Gold and will transition to the new program.
Steve White, program vice president, channels and alliances at IDC, suggested Global Gold could increase the number of partners obtaining Cisco global certification status.
“There are only a few partners who operate at this level globally — in the future, the number should grow from the initial five to around 12 to 15,” he said.
The largest professional services firms tend to be the ones with customers with international service delivery and support requirements. However, more channel partners may face global requirements in the future.
“As the channel trends towards more differentiated, industry-centric solutions, I could see more mid-sized partners needing to deliver those globally if they truly want to scale,” White said.