From the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis Cisco has, first and foremost, focused on the response and recovery plan—especially as it pertained to our customers. Due to the critical role they play in our society, our immediate focus was drawn to healthcare and education. These industries are adjusting the way they prioritize and invest in their IT infrastructure, as well as the way they enable their users—professors, students, administrations, doctors, and patients 

While many in the education and healthcare sectors have invested in digital enablement, COVID-19 has shown us that these two industries are, as a whole, far behind others. As a trusted partner in healthcare, we support over 17,000 organizations in 118 countries. In education, we partner with more than 1,800 higher education institutions in the U.S. alone. We truly believe our customers will play a critical role in our world’s recovery from this crisis, and we are committed to doing our part in enabling them to do so. 

This crisis–coupled with recent events in the U.S.–have further highlighted a stark inequity in our society and emphasized the need for us to do our part in enabling educational institutions and healthcare providers to democratize both knowledge and care. An inclusive future for all can only be made possible by what we do now. 

In this dynamic environment, we are constantly monitoring our customers’ needs. Cisco’s strategy to help accelerate recovery was five-fold: 

  • focus on speed 
  • keep solutions simple
  • scale through packaged solutions 
  • unlock government funding 
  • launch tools to drive transformation across our customers’ workforce 

Working across Engineering, Sales, and Customer Experience (CX), we mapped customer business requirements to our capabilities in an easy consumption model targeted for success in the new environment. This enabled us to launch Business Continuity offers addressing their most urgent needs, including distance learning and temporary field hospitals. In most cases, the combination of CX and Cisco’s partner ecosystem allows us to delivery at the speed and scale needed during this time. 

Customers, including National Health Service in the UK, are already seeing results and replicating at additional sites across their network. Together with our partners–in a matter of only nine days–we were able to set up a medical grade network powering a temporary hospital to treat an additional 4,000 patients. In addition to responding quickly to our customers, Cisco’s COVID response also included support for organizations who needed extra assistance. In Spain, at the Ministry of Education, Cisco partnered with IBM to facilitate the transition to remote education by donating 100,000+ Webex licenses (and expert support) to teachers. 

Across the world, governments have committed stimulus packages to aid in the recovery and mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on healthcare and education. These additional resources will support continued successful transformation for people, communities, and countries reliant on these industries. Within the US, the CARES Act is allocating ~$4B to healthcare and education technology. Partnering with our Government Affairs and Sales teams, Cisco is expanding its support of eligible customers to access appropriate grants and public funding sources. 

Now, as we move from business continuity to business resiliency, we know that our customers top concerns are enabling a secure remote workforce and supporting a trusted workplace. We have created nearly a dozen packaged solutions to help customers meet these challenges and to navigate this new funding, including Telehealth Admin and Contact Centers, Temporary Field Hospitals and Testing Sites, Secure Distance Learning, and Administration. In order to ensure our customers’ success, and offer support, we formed a new centralized Public Funding PMO. Contact your Cisco Account Manager to understand how we may be able to help you.   

As universities and healthcare institutions accelerate their digital transformation, their networks must be reliable, secure, and flexible. They must be able to tailor their IT infrastructure to their specific needs through automation and software development. 

Programmability and APIs are the engine that will power these customers to transform their business and unlock the value of software automation. However, make no mistake: technology alone cannot solve this. There must be a shift in how we develop human capital. 

Therefore, Cisco is committed to making sure that the workforce is prepared and trained for their new job requirements.  To support these institutions, Cisco will ensure our partners can help automate their infrastructure, connect and integrate their systems, and solve their business problems via our training and certifications program. For example, a new DevNet Specialization gives partners a path to build or enhance their software development practice while recognizing their expertise.  Cisco is also launching advance.cisco.com , a new, single source for learning and development. The purpose is to bring together our developer communities, our powerhouse of certified network engineers, and those just starting their IT careers, to usher in the workforce of the future, today.   

A rapid transformation is now required for the healthcare and education industries. Their recovery will serve as the engine for our communities and countries to emerge from this pandemic stronger and more inclusive than ever. Cisco will continue to prioritize investments, partnerships, and innovations to accelerate our support in these spaces.  

To our customers on the frontline providing healthcare and remote education: thank you. Please know that Cisco stands with you, and we are committed to your success.   


Maria Martinez

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Cisco Systems