As tech buying power shifts away from IT departments to line of business decision makers, five key trends are reshaping how customers want to consume technology.

  1. Customers increasingly want to consume technology, but not build it
  2. They want solutions that address their business problems
  3. They have no interest in complex IT solutions and won’t pay for what they see as complexity
  4. They want to pay as they use the technology and not take on large, up-front expenses
  5. Last – and the big take-away for Cisco partners – they want outcomes, not just technology

In the past, customers bought technology based on a traditional CapEx spending model, where the partner’s role was to sell, install, fix, and refresh the technology. But now customers want something new from their partners – they want partners to help them try, manage, drive adoption of technology, and guarantee a specific business outcome with the implication that there is shared risk and reward. The challenge for partners today is to figure out how to take on new roles as they move from a product focus to an outcomes-based approach.

Cisco Responds with Evolving Services Portfolio and Programs

Portfolio slide for Raja blog_Final_09022014At Cisco we are evolving our portfolio to address the shift in buying centers and the evolving customer-supplier relationship [see my previous blogs] to provide the right mix of consulting, technical, managed, and professional services. As we continue on the journey to the Internet of Everything, Cisco Consulting Services will help customers transform and leverage analytics-driven business intelligence. We are also heavily investing in delivering industry solutions for specific verticals – all to help Cisco and its partners drive business outcomes for customers.

At Partner Summit 2014 this spring, we began piloting software and solutions programs with the intention of learning the right model from our partners and then launching. These programs will make it easy for you to combine your industry and vertical expertise with our hardware, software, and services to bring industry solutions to your customers. To help you get started, the programs provide solutions kits.

Call to Action

There is a lot of opportunity out there for growth and profitability. It’s clear that partners need to take on new roles to provide outcomes that customers expect. Given that these new operating models are still new, what can you do to get ready to seize this opportunity?


Raja Sundaram

Vice President

Services Partners and Alliances