Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Next Generation Partner: Shark Tank

July 2, 2019

Success depends on collaboration

Partners in action

It’s integral to human survival; in fact, Charles Darwin wrote more about collaboration than competition in his discourse on the theory of natural selection.  It’s also fundamental to partner development.

At Cisco, we know this, which is why our partner ecosystem is not just surviving but thriving; growing in symbiosis.

Our UK & Ireland Premier Partner community is rapidly growing its Public Sector business with Cisco at 48% year over year.  As our business evolves, we need forward-thinking, innovative partners aligned to our strategy; partners who are prepared to go that extra mile, add value and deliver an incredible service to their (and our) customers.

As Andrew Candlish, Regional Sales Manager for Central puts it: “We will become more dependent on partners taking our customers on our journey as we continue to segment and automate our sales process. This will only work with partners who take the time to understand our strategy and who we trust to articulate it properly and execute against it.”

On June 11th, 2019 our Next Generation Partner (NGP) team invited nine agile and disruptive partners to our Cisco Meraki office to ‘pitch for their lives’.  These partners possess full technical capabilities in key transformational technologies such as SDA, SD-WAN, Security, Meraki and Hybrid-Cloud.  The NGP team is on a quest to rapidly accelerate, incubate and develop high potential ‘partners of the future’.

Presenting to the SharkTank

“The NGP team is all about partnership, collaboration and innovation,” explains UKI Partner Lead Angela Whitty. “So, it was particularly exciting to welcome this sub-set of premier partners and all the new opportunities they’ll bring.”

And what better way to achieve this than to turn the tables and get them to ‘sing for their supper’ to an audience of hungry ‘Public Sector Sharks’?

‘The Shark Tank’ was a chance for partners to showcase and shout about their capabilities. It also helped them identify opportunities to work more closely with the Public Sector team.  On the flip side, it was also an opportunity for our Public Sector organisation to express what it was looking for from partners and identify any shortfalls. Each partner was given a 15-minute slot to sing their own praises, much in the style of a real Shark Tank.

“Partner differentiation has always been really tough,” continues Andrew. “Not only did each partner present their USP really well, they all did it very effectively inside 15 minutes. We have some very smart partners who get Cisco’s proposition in a way that larger, more traditional and established partners do not.”

The final word goes to our head of UKI public sector, Alex Brown who summed up the event’s successes: “The format of the day was brilliant, we had a really diverse cross section of partners, most of whom had very clearly differentiated value-propositions based on technology, vertical market expertise or some combination of the two. There was very clear value and learnings for my team and I hope we can do something very similar again soon.”

If necessity is the mother of invention, then interaction is the mother of innovation.

If you are interested in presenting at our next shark tank please contact Katherine Hannah


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