Cisco Canada Blog

The Future of Partner Eco-Systems

March 23, 2015

Last month, I had a great conversation with Robert Dutt from Robert is well known for covering the Canadian IT channel and for reporting on the trends and tribulations that come with the rapidly changing IT sector. Robert and I spoke about the evolution of the partner eco-system for the IT industry, and for Cisco in particular.

Our world is changing. From analogue to digital, static to mobile. Offline is becoming online. What was here and there is now everywhere. The Internet is evolving fast and the Internet of Everything is literally changing everything. Naturally, this is having a major impact on how we consume, sell, and procure technologies, products, and services. Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 10.26.24 AM

In IT, we are moving from ‘selling great products, features, and functionalities’ to ‘delivering solutions or whole-offers that solve business problems’. The Internet of Everything is about creating solutions that deliver business outcomes to those that want to become more efficient, productive, innovative, competitive, and grow their business. 

Relying on proven and established sales cycles and procurement methods may not be sufficient for companies that try to flourish in this new world. New leadership and focus is required. For one to excel with the Internet of Everything, we see the need for five characteristics and movements:

(1) Leadership–vision, strategy, and execution needs to be set and celebrated from the top down, and embraced and accelerated from the bottom up. Without clear and articulate leadership, the benefits of the Internet of Everything may be difficult to realize.

(2) Standards–with the Internet of Everything we connect the unconnected. In order to extract value we will need the people, processes, data, and things to be inter-operable. Standards are paramount for the success, scale, and sustainability of creating and delivering business outcomes with the Internet of Everything. Cisco is an active participant in numerous standards bodies that focus on the Internet of Things, including the Industrial Internet Consortium with companies like Intel, IBM, GE, AT&T and others.

(3) Smart Regulation–the innovation spurred by the companies that embrace the Internet of Everything needs to be unobstructed and nurtured. This can only be done if we part with dated, proven, and tested rules and regulations. Swift adjustment and modernization of policy and regulations is essential.

(4) Public-Private partnerships–capitalizing on the benefits of the Internet of Everything is a collaborative and joined effort between public and private sectors. Paving the way for truly integrated and open innovation can only be done when economic and political barriers are removed, and all stakeholders collaborate.

(5) Eco-systems–new partnerships and economic alliances are going to be relevant if we seek to address real business opportunities and re-engineer or possibly cannibalize existing businesses and processes. New partnerships will create and complement solutions, and allow for industry transformation to be realized.

We are seeing the emergence of new partnerships that are critical to the success of this latest evolution of the Internet.

Market access–new partnerships are formed that change the positioning with business decisions makers. This helps IT companies move from the ‘carpeted-space’ to the operations of the business and access new budgets to solve real business problems. Cisco already has formalized many of these relationships, including Johnson Controls, Honeywell, Schneider Electric, GE, Rockwell, and many more.

Connected technologies–as we extract value from making connections between people, processes, data, and things, we have to ensure that the things that are being connected fit in the technical architectures and complement the Internet of Everything road map. In Cisco’s Innovation Centre, we are closely working with innovative technology companies that are creating new IP-products, or are converting their legacy systems to IP-networked devices. The examples are ample, and some include Delta Controls, Triacta power meters, Philips and NuLED IP/PoE Lighting, Assa-Abloy lock systems, numerous health care systems and technologies, and on and on.

More types of partnerships are being created, and I will be sure to blog about them as they come to fruition. Who once were competitors now are partners, and “co-opetition” is a new accepted word in the IT channel sector. Those who understand how to shape this new landscape of eco-partners and relationships will lead forward, proof to be winners, and stand to gain the most in this rapidly changing world.

Check out a recording of our conversation on You can listen to the whole recording, or fast-forward to 27mins50sec to get to my discussion with Robert

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