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Cisco: Thriving on the Power of Alliances

Last month Cisco hosted the 6thedition of Cisco India Summit as a celebration of its ideology behind building partnerships. From unveiling new partnerships to acknowledging the success of the existing partnerships, the summit was dedicated to the spirit of alliances in the evolving market.

By: Pooja Jain pooja@accentinfomedia.com

The point of inception for the organization that Cisco has become today, was in 1984 when Leonard Bosack and Sandra Lernerof Stanford University, California, figured out a way to connect their respective computer networks with each other over a local area networkwithin the university campus. The solution that they devised was to find a way for two computer systems with different mediums and language protocols to talk to each other. Theydeveloped a routerthat went on to become Cisco’s initial product.

In today’s world, innovative solutions can be developed by anyone, anywhere— and then scaled to help people around the world. This is the power of connection, and no one connects better than Cisco.”

Chuck Robbins, CEO,Cisco

What started in 1984 as a desire to connect different systems, twelve years later turned into a commitment to the channels as a strategic route to the market. By 2001, Cisco had introduced its value based partner program that was supplemented by its profitability programs VIP/OIP/SIPthree years later. It took Cisco 26 years of perseveranceto venture into the collaborative channels and create its own worldwide partner organization

Since 2015, Cisco has been consistently working on enhancing its partner ecosystem, and now in 2019, it is a force to reckon with in the Digital Transformation journey that is centred on the expansion of the role of its partners

Today,Cisco has over 2300 partners nationwide that range from Industry Partners, Integrators, Distributors, Service Providers and Consultants to ISVs, MSI/EPCs and Technology. What lies for the organization ahead is an unimpeded expansion of the playing field, wherein Cisco extends its incessant support to its partners in building their transformational capabilities.

Power of Alliances

The 65 years of Independence have seen the growth of the Indian economy to a $2 Trillion economy. With the rate at which the enterprises are currently progressing, the next ten years hold the promise of turning Indian into a $5 Trillion digital economy. As the enterprises embrace the new world order of Technology, what we are looking forward to, is a steep increase in the digital economic impact from six percent to approximately twenty percent of theGDP in just a period of five years

The question that arises in the face of these statistics is -by what forces will such a monumental growth be driven in the Indian Economy?

To addressthis,Cisco celebrated the ethos of Partnerships in theCisco India Summit 2019, conducted on 29th–30thJuly in Kochi. The theme for the two day conference was ‘Power of Alliances’. From looking back to and celebrating the partnerships that Cisco has had for decades, to establishing new enterprise relationships, Cisco continued on its journey of exploring the powerof partnerships

“The way forward if you want to grow and keep pace with the innovation on the business side, it is no more about serving old and new customers with existing business models. It is about serving new customers with new business models. That is the change that Cisco wants to bring,” said Sameer Garde, President, India &SAARC.

Garde kickstarted the event with a discussion of the three pillar model formarket creation that has guided Cisco inall its operations. The three pillars are Programmability of businesses, New GTM and business models and Collaboration &Co-innovation. It is this proactive approach of going the extra mile to reach the customers you thought you could never acquire, that has led Cisco to becoming the market leader that it is today

The event saw a series of groundbreaking announcements being made by the Cisco leaders. The highlight of the Summit though wasunveiling ofthe Cisco-Google alliance to offer high-speed public Wifi in India.Ciscowill work with Google’s gStation platform to provide communities around the country, access to a free, open, high-quality public Wi-Fi.

We are excited to partner with Google to bring free, open, high-quality internet access to everyone in India. This also represents a significant growth opportunity, the demand for public Wi-Fi hotspots is expected to go up by 100X over the next 3 years, creating new markets for Cisco and our partners.”

Sameer Garde, President, Cisco India & SAARC

In line with Google and Cisco’s shared vision of connecting 1.3 billion Indians to the digital economy, the project has already begun its first phase of implementation in Bengaluru. By September 2019, 200 locations in Bengaluru will be Wi-Fi enabled, followed by another 300 in the second phase.With this initiative, Google and Cisco are looking forward to engagingover 1,750,000,000 new internet users by 2025.

“According to a TRAI report, globally there is 1 WiFi hotspot for every 150 people, and in India, 8 million additional hotspots must be installed to achieve the same ratio, creating new market opportunities for infrastructure providers and internet service providers. India has only 52,000 Wi-Fi hotspots today, necessitating a proactive strategy to make high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots ubiquitous across the country,” states Cisco

The results from gStation’s railway station rollout have been hugely encouraging, and we’re delighted to join hands with Cisco to broaden gStation’s coverage in the city of Bengaluru. Our approach is to help create abundance where there is scarcity and do it sustainably.”

Sajith Sivanandan, Managing Director and Business Head, Google Pay and Next Billion User Initiatives, India

Google identifies the challenges faced by the Next Billion Users globally, who are majorly a generation of mobile only users. These challenges include high device prices, lack of storage, mobile data constraints and the paucity of locally-relevant content, apps and services.Google-Cisco alliance proposes to address these challenges by offering Access, Platforms and Products to the next billion users

Commenting on this, Sajith Sivanandan, Managing Director and Business Head, Google Pay and Next Billion User Initiatives, India,said“Solving for access is one of the core pillars of our Next Billion Users strategy, and with gStation we have developed a best in class public WiFi solution that provides a seamless, high-quality broadband experience to users.”

In addition to this, VC Gopalratnam, SVP, IT and CIO International, Cisco India and SAARC, announced that only Cisco is building a multi-domain architecture that securely connects any user, on any device, on any network to any application.

When asked about the evolving role of CISOs and the CISOs potentially replacing the CIOs in the boardroom discussions, Daisy Chittilapilly, Managing Director, DTO, Cisco India & SAARC, said “Though CISOs are traditionally into compliance and policy work, while the CIOs are the enablers, the synergist relationship between CISOs and CIOs is increasingly becoming more important. CISOs have moved away from being a sub-category and are steadily becoming equivalent to other departments.”

Referring to the business strategy for Cisco with the changing market dynamics of emerging technologies, Rajesh Shetty, Managing Director Sales – Enterprise, Cisco, said “For Automation, we would be leveraging Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to see how the devices are talking to each other and draw patterns out of it. Other significant trends in the market are around Business Intelligence and Customer Experience. The programmable economy is the most relevant factor. All organizations are looking at how they can improve their customer experience whether through internal apps or through apps for their customers. Everybody is reaching out to their end consumers trying to figure out a way to build a better connect. So, every discussion at the board level and the CIO level, is centred on how to use Business Intelligence to better the customer experience.”

Everybody is reaching out to their end consumers trying to figure out a way to build a better connect. So, every discussion at the board level and the CIO level, is centred on how to use Business Intelligence to better the customer experience.”

Rajesh Shetty, Managing Director Sales – Enterprise, Cisco

“Being an end-to-end company, Cisco plays an important role in a number of fields from Data Centre, Security and Infrastructure to Applications, Networking and the IT-OT Integration. A lot of the solutions for these come from Cisco’s Cloud managed wireless solutions. This end-to-end role is the strength of the Cisco Solutions. You don’t have to go to multiple vendors and try to put a solution together. Cisco offers a tried and tested solution which can be deployed very easily. With more Digitization happening, Cisco’s role is, in fact, increasing. And with the more acquisitions we are doing, we are getting more relevant end-to-end solutions,” Shetty added.

Anand Patil, Director, Systems Engineering, Cisco India and SAARC, discussed the next 5 big transitions in the market, namely, Intent-Based Networking, Multicloud, Wifi 6, 5G and Security.

In his discussion on ‘Tech for Good – Partnerships with a Purpose’, VC Gopalratnam, SVP IT & CIO International, Cisco India and SAARC, stated the Cisco India focus areas to be Critical Human Needs, Education and Economic Empowerment. Following these focus areas, Cisco’s goal is to positively impact 50 million people in India by 2025. For this, Cisco will expand its Networking Academy program to train one million students in India by 2025. The aim of this endeavour is to create a pool of highly-skilled technology professionals who will accelerate India’s digital transformation.

“The digital economy is a growth enabler and holds massive potential for India. While it has been widely discussed that digital adoption is forecasted at $1 trillion monetary opportunities for organizations, it is the quality of benefits that it brings that is most significant,” commented VC Gopalratnam, SVP IT & CIO International, Cisco India and SAARC.

Cisco has been consistently supporting its partners in enhancing their resources and transforming their capabilities. It is a partnership of mutual growth and development. As a testimony to Cisco’s unwavering commitment towards its partner’s growth, Cisco partner, Velocis presented its Digital Transformation Journey in this Software Defined, Multi Platform, Multi Cloud Era with future-ready technologies aided by Cisco. Cisco offers its partners the technological training and expertise required for them to enhance their portfolio, as well as provides them the global exposure needed to create an ever increasing market for its products and services.

Atul Bansal, Managing Director, Velocis, talked about how a stronger partner connection to Cisco is enabling partners to scale new technologies faster and that the early and deeper understanding of CX Portfolio and Partner model is emblematic of unflinching support from Cisco.

The Power of Alliances has led Cisco on its way to fulfilling its CSR projects and creating a positive social impact. Shridhar Venkat from Akshaya Patra Foundation, Suzzane Singh from Pratham Books and Sapna Moudgil from NIIT Foundation offered testimonies to Cisco’s capabilities in bridging the gap to possibilities.


The two-day summit duly paid a tribute to the increasing necessity of partnerships and alliances among the enterprises in the current industrial scenario. With technology evolving at a pace faster than is humanly possible to catch on with, it is tie ups with other enterprises that will pave the way for mutual growth by creating the space for all partners to capitalize on each other’s capabilities, while simultaneously contributing to it.

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