Innovation rarely happens in a vacuum. Especially in today’s complex, fast-changing markets.
That’s why partnerships — and co-innovation — are so important. Because no matter how innovative or wide-ranging their skill sets and talent base, few organizations can go it alone.
Cisco has turned partnering into a veritable art form, developing deep trust and long-standing creative collaborations with some of the biggest technology companies, manufacturers, retailers, healthcare providers, and more, across a vast, global ecosystem. But partnerships also extend to the most cutting-edge startups, along with forward-thinking governments, universities, and public-sector organizations.
“The real question is, how can we co-innovate together?” said Fabio Florio, business development manager and Country Digitization Acceleration (CDA) lead for Cisco Italy. “For us, innovation means not only innovation by Cisco, but innovation that we can build and produce together in collaboration with others.”
That co-innovation combines Cisco’s market leadership and world-class portfolio with the diverse capabilities, industry expertise, and differentiated offerings of our global ecosystem of trusted partners.
“Partnering is more important than ever before,” said Oliver Tuszik, SVP of partner sales and GM routes to market at Cisco, “because today, delivering the outcomes that customers need, want, and expect is more complex than ever. No single company can do everything on their own. Partnering is essential to achieve success.”
Partnerships built on trust
Trust is a key element of any partnership. And it needs to be carefully cultivated and maintained. As Cisco’s SVP and global innovation officer, Dr. Guy Diedrich oversees Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration and Networking Academy programs, which is all about partnering. CDA has created critical collaborations in 44 counties around the world, with the overarching goal of digitizing and innovating to create opportunity, connectivity, and sustainability.
“The primary value is in being a trusted technology partner,” Diedrich explained, “not just for the digital age, but in times of crisis. With the relationships that we have at the highest levels of these governments, we have built in trust. Because it’s been proven over years and years of interaction. And with each of those interactions, we build more trust.”
For Cisco’s partners, a world of possibilities opens, stemming from Cisco’s global reach, its ability to scale fast, and its access to deep expertise, knowledge, and data, internally and across its far-reaching ecosystem.
“Our partners are growing, innovating fast, and coming up with new capabilities,” said Florio. “Because they are investing in new solutions together with us, like full-stack observability. They’re creating new offers like managed service. They’re transacting on different marketplaces, for example, cloud marketplaces. They are adding more software development capabilities, and they are becoming consultants themselves.”
A shared commitment to the future
As Tuszik has stressed, the pandemic highlighted the value of a partner ecosystem — especially the collective ability to respond to a crisis with innovation and agility — along with Cisco’s continuing commitment to those partners.
“Partnering is in our DNA,” he said. “Look at our CEO, look at our sales leaders. Everyone understands the role partners play in delivering customer value and the importance of the partner experience. The entire company is supporting this success. And it comes from working every day with our partners. The pandemic was a great example. We were faster, more agile, and much more flexible than our competitors, because of the expertise of our partners — literally thousands of people who could help address customers’ evolving needs as well as the changing technology landscape.”
Given the steep challenges we face — including climate change, global inequality, the digital divide, and so much more — co-innovation will become ever more critical. Cisco’s purpose is to create an inclusive future for everyone. And part of its core culture is to partner with organizations that share its values, ethics, and vision.
Sustainability is but one example. Cisco is helping partners and customers become more efficient while cutting their energy consumption and enabling them to reuse or recycle products. It’s a shared commitment that will only grow.
“We are doing a lot of good things,” said Tuszik. “But it’s not enough. And that’s why we continue to evolve — we can never stand still using the models of the past. Because technologies are changing, our customers are changing, and their needs are changing – and the responsibilities that we share with our partners must reflect that.”