Cisco specializations help partners build their expertise. The number and type of specializations you earn determines your Cisco certification level, although not all specializations count toward certification. You may earn specializations beyond those required for a certification to strengthen your expertise and market differentiation. Specializations are updated as needed to reflect our ongoing commitment to the most current technology training.
Training in Cisco Lifecycle Services is also required to help define the activities needed to successfully deploy and operate Cisco solutions, optimize technology performance, and reduce deployment risk. By taking this approach, partners can strengthen customer relationships and enhance profitability by implementing proven, repeatable processes specific to Cisco advanced technologies.
There are four levels of specialization (Entry, Express, Advanced and Master) each representing greater capabilities in sales, technical, and lifecycle services. In addition to these four levels, Global and Multinational specializations are also available to support those partners with expanding global presence.
Entry level specialization is designed specifically for Cisco Registered Partners looking for an entry point into the Cisco Channel Partner Program. Centered on resellers serving small business customers, entry level specialization includes the Small Business Specialization which is required to achieve Select Certification. The Small Business Specialization provides a partner with a closer relationship with Cisco and unique reseller benefits. Offering training, tools and incentives specific to the small business market, the specialization assists partner growth and differentiation, helps partners build customer satisfaction and loyalty, while increasing partners exposure to new customers.
Express level specializations are designed for those partners wishing to increase their technical proficiency in the areas of Unified Communications and Foundation networking. Partners can achieve Express level specialization in both Express Foundation and Express Unified Communications.
Partners can achieve advanced specializations in Unified Communications, Security, Wireless LAN, Routing and Switching – all required to achieve Gold Certification, and also in Data Center Networking Infrastructure and Data Center Storage Networking technologies. Advanced specializations help partners meet a wide range of customer needs—from small and medium-sized businesses to larger enterprise organizations.
See how Cisco promotes Master Specialization to customers
Learn about Multinational Master Specialization in next tab Multinational/Global and expand your global presence to help your multinational customers.
Cisco Master Specializations are targeted at an elite group of partners that have the most in-depth technology skills and demon¬strated success in selling, deploying, and providing services for more sophisticated Cisco solutions.
Master Specialization can be achieved regardless of certification level, and are available for Unified Communications and Security. Partners must first achieve the advanced specialization in that technology, and then meet stringent requirements that demonstrate their capabilities and customer successes in the following three areas:
Selling capability: Sales skills, sales personnel investments, product and solution knowledge, Cisco prescribed demonstration capabilities, and customer references that include Cisco prescribed solution and services.
Technical capability: Technical personnel requirements, including additional CCIE certified individuals.
Services capability and methodology: Ability to provide services assessment across the Cisco Lifecycle Services phases: Prepare, Plan, Design, Implement, Operate, and Optimize. Ability to meet ISO-prescribed skills for specific Cisco services.
To protect the integrity and value of the Master Specialization, Cisco employs an annual onsite audit requirement to provide further validation of a partner's technology skills, and services capabilities.
Branding: The greatest differentiation and branding opportunities, which partners can integrate into their customer sales efforts, marketing plans, and company value proposition.
Profitability and growth opportunities: The highest Value Incentive Program payment as a reward for their technology capabilities, commitment to customer success, and loyalty to Cisco. Cisco Unified Communications and Security sales drive higher-margin services, and end-to-end business solutions that help partners build trusted, sustainable relationships with customers.
Marketing: Promotion to customers through product and solution launches, Cisco events, press announcements, and co-marketing materials. Highlighted in the customer-facing Partner Locator tool and supporting pages, the most visited site on Cisco.com.
Recognition: Promoted to the Cisco sales organization through internal training and promotion. Highlighted on the enhanced Partner Locator Tool and supporting pages, a key resource for the Cisco sales organization as partners engage with our joint customers.
To achieve the Master Unified Communications Specialization, partners must first attain the Advanced Unified Communications Specialization, and then meet stringent requirements to demonstrate their master-level capabilities in the following areas:
Customer success: Five annual customer references for successful delivery of integrated, multiple unified communications solutions and applications integration in areas such as contact center, unified messaging, rich media, mobility, and presence solutions.
Technology expertise: Additional technical requirements, such as additional CCIE certified individuals (CCIE-Voice, for example), industry-recognized project management credentials, and Cisco and third-party application integration experience.
Services capability and methodology: Comprehensive services assessment across the Cisco Lifecycle Services phases, including ISO prescribed skills for the operate phase and post-implementation support (with Day 2 troubleshooting and solution optimization).
To protect the integrity and value of the master specialization, Cisco requires an annual onsite audit. Partners will be asked to provide validation of third-party certifications, proof of specific business processes, and proof of proficiency in unified communications technologies.
To achieve the Master Security Specialization, partners must first attain the Advanced Security Specialization, and then meet stringent requirements to demonstrate their master-level capabilities in the following areas:
Customer success: Five annual customer references for successful delivery of integrated, multiple security solutions such as Intrusion Prevention, Network Admission Control, Secure Communications, Security Management, and Secure Applications.
Technology expertise: Additional CCIE personnel requirements with the deep technology skills customers require. Industry recognized Project Management credentials.
Services capability and methodology: Comprehensive Services Assessment across the Cisco Lifecycle Services phases (Prepare, Plan, Design, Implement, Operate and Optimize) including: ISO prescribed skills for the Operate Phase, remote monitoring capability, vulnerability assessments, and post implementation support.
To protect the integrity and value of the Master Specialization, Cisco requires an annual onsite audit. Partners will be asked to provide validation of third-party certifications, proof of specific business processes, and proof of proficiency in Cisco Security technologies.
Cisco Multinational Master Specialization
While a Cisco Master Specialization recognizes a partners expertise in providing unified communications or security services within a single country or Cisco defined country grouping, a Cisco Multinational Master Specialization recognizes partners that have expanded this expertise across a Cisco defined theater and in multiple countries.
To expand their reach within a particular theater, partners may establish their enhanced capabilities in satellite countries across the theater by meeting certain requirements in each satellite location. These requirements include:
Advanced Specialization account manager role in the satellite country (from Advanced Specialization requirements)
Advanced Specialization systems engineer role in the satellite country (from Advanced Specialization requirements)
Project management role in the satellite country (from Master Specialization requirements)
A minimum of five reference accounts from across the theater (from Master Specialization requirements)
Cisco Global Master Specialization
Partners that achieve Master Specialization in each theater and achieve correlating requirements in 15 satellite countries have distinguished themselves as truly global providers of unified communications and/or security services, and will receive the Cisco Global Master Specialization.
This table shows the minimum number of Satellites or Advanced Specializations required for Multinational Specialization in each theatre. A partner may use an Advanced Specialization as satellite alternative. A Project Management Professional (PMP) certified individual is still required in the Advanced Specialized country.
# Advanced UC/Security with PMP
United States and Canada
Emerging - Latin America
Global Master Specialization
Cisco Multinational Master Specialized Partners enjoy the following benefits:
Branding: The Cisco Multinational Master Specialization offers the greatest differentiation and branding opportunities across a particular theater. Partners can integrate this unique branding opportunity into their customer sales efforts, marketing plans, and company value proposition, creating substantial differentiation in the global market.
Profitability and growth opportunities: In addition to selling the higher-margin services associated with Cisco Unified Communications and security solutions, Multinational Master Specialized Partners receive the highest Value Incentive Program rebate. The Value Incentive Program uniquely rewards Multinational Master Specialized Partners for their capabilities in providing value-added services, for their commitment to customer success, and for their loyalty to Cisco.
Marketing: Cisco promotes the Multinational Master Specialization distinction to customers through product and solution launches, Cisco events, press announcements, and a comprehensive suite of co-marketing materials that partners can use to accelerate their marketing efforts (e.g., customer brochures, e-mail templates, presentations, artwork, branding, Web banners, and partner messaging). Cisco Multinational Master Specialized Partners are clearly highlighted in the enhanced customer-facing Partner Locator tool, and are shown as:
Recognition: The value of the Cisco Multinational Master Specialization is communicated to the Cisco sales organization through internal training and promotion. Cisco Master Specialized Partners are also recognized on the enhanced Partner Locator tool, a key resource for the Cisco sales organization as partners engage with our joint customers.