Several of us on the offer management team in Cisco’s Managed Services group were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to speak in various forums here at Cisco Live 2017.  On Day 3, a handful of us hosted a Lunch and Learn on accelerating adoption of IWAN by leveraging the power of managed services.  Later that day, I personally had the pleasure of speaking solo in the Services Solution Theater about helping our customers manage disruption while at the same time finding opportunities and real innovation within the disruptive moment.  We always welcome and are appreciative of those opportunities to evangelize about managed services in such forums!

I had an attendee approach me after the Solutions Theater presentation who graciously complimented the simple articulation of the value of managed services in the transformational journey.  He pointed out to me that he was also in the managed services industry, and rarely had he witnessed such a simple and powerful value proposition based not on deliverables but on overarching business outcomes.  I was thankful for the feedback but also had to pass along the credit to all of Cisco’s services organizations—all of us work hard not only to represent a One Cisco experience (rather than a disjointed series of separate engagements) but also to emphasize services delivery as a partnership and consultative journey with our prospects and customers, not just isolated engagements.  The credit goes to everybody in Cisco Services who have come together to express such a unifying vision for our prospects and customers, and the message is ours, not just mine.

During my presentation yesterday, I focused briefly on that seemingly scary word “disruption” and how it mostly has a negative connotation.  Yes, we in Cisco Services bring to market and deliver world-class offers and capabilities to ensure against disruptions in IT services that could be catastrophic to our customers.  In that sense, one of our biggest value propositions is to prevent our customers from experiencing the pain of disruption.  What we’re really talking about here is IT service disruption.

But do we really want to help them avoid disruption on a larger scale?  I pointed all around the massive conference hall and observed that all these Cisco technologies (and those of our partner organizations) are meant to be disruptive.  In this sense, disruption is all about helping our customers shake up their business processes, rethink how they do business and carry out innovation for their own customers, and put into place powerful and disruptive technologies that underpin new ways for them to carry out their core businesses.  This type of disruption is the very catalyst for a wonderful and incredibly valuable experience we call transformation:  the total renovation of business processes supported through transformational overhaul at the center of their IT operations.

During that Lunch and Learn I referenced earlier, we spoke with a really inquisitive and sharp person who represents a major financial services institution.  He mentioned that he was very interested in how IWAN can really change the way they do business, but he put the timeframe out by at least a year or two so that they can assess how best to do this.  Quite frankly, IWAN threatened to be a bit too disruptive, and so the response was to wait and figure out how to mitigate the risks.  My colleagues Shelley Bhalla and Faheem Ansari had the perfect rebuttal:  why wait to transform?  If you do, you’ll find that all your other competitors have beaten you to the punch bowl and you’re simply playing catch up.  Our managed services are here to guide all our customers on that transformational journey, to provide them with the immediate expertise and best practices to begin transformation today.  Sure, it’s going to be a bit disruptive, but we’ll be with you all along the way.  We’ll help you manage that disruption—mitigate risk and protect your investments—and turn that disruption into the business-transformation evolution from which your organization can draw real benefits now.

This is the real joy of Cisco Live.  We sit with our prospects and customers, eye to eye, and listen to their needs, wants, fears, and aspirations.  We’re not trying to put out a hard sell on Cisco products and services—we’re trying to understand how to make them successful and embrace the disruption that will never go away for any of us.  And why would we want it to?  Disruption is always the first step toward change, and change is always good (as long as you know how to manage it).

Written by Trevor Morgan