Perhaps you’re familiar with the African proverb “If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together” or the famous quote from Peter Drucker, “If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”  At Ciena, we embrace these messages in all aspects of our business.  We are always pushing boundaries to overcome business and technology challenges, enhance our partnerships, and achieve superior business outcomes for our customers. 

As we enter 2019, many of us focus our attention on the collective goals we need to achieve and the opportunities to be developed this year.  From a technology perspective, the pace of digital innovation, cloud technologies, 5G, mobility, IoT, and networks that can adapt will continue to be key topics for our customers and partners.  From a channel partner perspective, continued success in 2019 and beyond will require partners to embrace new business models and deliver differentiated solutions and services as key pillars for partner success.

“A new way of doing business”

Solution and service provider partners continue to face headwinds that challenge their existing business models as well as their ability to respond to dynamic market conditions.   In the past, when technology advancement was less disruptive and channel partners had more homgenous business models, traditional gold, silver, bronze-type tiered partner programs were very effective.  In contrast, the current market environment is one of unrelenting and accelerating change, often caused by technology disruptions from unexpected directions.

Today’s partners recognize the traditional tiered partner programs that have become ubiquitous are, in many cases, hindering their success.  Globally, partners spend time, resources, and energy trying to adhere to the requirements of a vendor’s channel program and “playing the game” to maintain compliance.  This type of behavior can be counter-productive and is an unintended consequence of these types of programs.  Also, it often leads to frustration by the partners and less-than-optimal business performance.

Alternatively, the new Ciena Partner Network (CPN) program is an example of how we are innovating and pushing boundaries to help our partners grow their Ciena-based businesses, enable new and evolving partner business models, and jointly capture new opportunities with customers.

Ciena’s people are extremely dedicated and they have now provided a personalized global program and joint value proposition backed by a strategic business approach to drive activities that help generate sales pipeline and bookings across all Colt segments.- Bo Duim, Global Director Business Development & Partner Ecosystem, Colt Technology Services

The new program – what’s it all about?

Ciena partners have diverse ways of going to market and differing business models, and we embrace these differences.  We’ve purposely bypassed the traditional partner program structure of the past and have designed the CPN program to be a personalized, flexible approach that adapts to market conditions and to each partner’s unique model.  For instance, we recognize the market trends, competitive analysis, training, enablement tools, and partner-centric demand generation asset needs for a solution provider operating in a particular country in Asia-Pacific can be quite different from those of a systems integrator operating in North America or a managed services provider operating globally.  Our innovative approach to the CPN embraces and supports not only all business models, but also partners with multiple business models from a single programmatic platform, allowing partners to engage with Ciena in the ways that are most sensible for their business.

Business planning is at the core of the CPN program.  By engaging and working collaboratively with us to create a customized joint business plan, our partners and Ciena develop a personalized shared business vision for achieving success based upon that partner’s business model, customer base, geography, competitive positioning, and market development initiatives. 

Once aligned, the CPN program provides the partner with the marketing and technical assets, tools, training opportunities, and shared accountability, and assistance they need to be most effective in their business to achieve the desired results.  In addition, metrics and joint business reviews are conducted throughout the year to track progress and potentially make adjustments that enable both the partner and Ciena to capitalize on dynamic market opportunities.

Since launching the program at the end of 2018, Ciena partners and industry press recognize the CPN program as being one of the most innovative programs in our space and is another example of Ciena’s leadership.   Partners welcome our personalized, flexible program as an important resource to help them grow their Ciena business.  By combining their talents with Ciena, partners deliver dependable, superior customer outcomes while operating in a highly fluid and disruptive technology environment.

Not only is CPN a winner for Ciena, it is for us and our customers, as well. - Mike Jonas, President of Global Customer Operations for LightRiver

For Ciena, our new program continues to make us a preferred vendor for partners.  Most importantly, our joint customers win with creative solutions provided by partners and Ciena to achieve the business results they require to continue to be successful.  Together, we all go far, and we get there…quickly.