A system integrator, a software company, and a managed services company executive walk into a bar…

This might have been a great setup for a joke. But in all seriousness, Cisco collaborates with this group of people every day to help our customers accelerate their businesses, de-risk decision making, and drive digital transformation. In fact, we work with a spectrum of partner types (including technology, ISV, and IOT partners) that represent a special breed of partner—our global Strategic Partners. If you haven’t heard of our Strategic Partners, here’s why you should.

Introducing Cisco’s Strategic Partners

Cisco’s Strategic Partners are global companies who offer consulting, software, services, technology solutions AND industry expertise. They provide managed and outsourced services, are experts in XAAS business models, and can introduce sellers to new buying centers. What’s more, they have best-in-class capabilities to build and deliver innovative solutions that drive industry presence, and—by integrating their platforms with Cisco’s—create competitive advantages for Cisco and our customers.

You’ve heard of them already. Examples are Systems Integrators such as Logicalis and NTT; Consultants like Accenture, Deloitte and EY; Managed Services firms including HCL, Infosys, Tech Mahindra and Wipro; Cloud and technology companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, NetApp, NVIDIA, Pure Storage, and SAP; and Industry and IoT partners such as Johnson Controls and Rockwell Automation, to name a few. They are some of the world’s largest companies and, together with Cisco, they represent the most valuable brand equity partnerships in the industry.

So how exactly does my team, the Strategic Partner Organization (SPO), work with these partners to help customers better perform today and transform for the future? We strive to create industry leading value propositions for our combined customers by helping our partners innovate, differentiate and grow with Cisco:

  • Innovate – The SPO team aligns solutions, architectures, and R&D engineering with our Strategic Partners to create unique solutions that solve our customers’ business problems.
  • Differentiate – Through innovating with partners—whether via technology, co-development or API integration; new go-to-market business models, or by opening up new routes-to-market—we will help the partner (and Cisco) differentiate in the market and in our ecosystem.
  • Grow – By optimizing the go-to-market and routes-to-market approaches for our joint solutions, focusing on value differentiators, we drive top-line and bottom-line growth for Cisco and our partners.

Co-Innovation Examples

Last week my team issued an insightful blog on Cisco’s co-innovation with SAP in the areas of Data Center, Cloud, Containers, IoT and more. This is a great example of the innovate, differentiate, grow strategy in action. There are many other examples of Cisco co-innovation with our Strategic Partners. Here are just a few:

  • Apple and Cisco’s commitment to cyber security led to the joint innovation of the Cisco Security Connector. This Cisco application for iOS devices has driven incredible results in reducing possible malicious events. One small school district in Kansas running 3,000 iOS devices has reported a total of 176,000 total malicious attempt blocks just in the last 30 days! This includes 15,000 Malware blocks and 71,000 Phishing blocks.  Together, Apple and Cisco are keeping students safe.
  • Cisco and Rockwell Automation lead innovation in industrial operations with Converged Plantwide Ethernet (CPwE) which includes ruggedized, tested and validated products. The solution creates a simplified, future-ready converged network architecture that connects the production systems to business systems.
  • NTT and Cisco signed a co-innovation agreement to transform ideas into viable, deployable solutions in key areas including 5G, IoT, and Blockchain. One example being Connected Conservation, a first of its kind solution to proactively protect endangered animals while leaving them to roam freely in the wild. Connected Conservation uses a combination of digital infrastructure, analytics (including Deep Fusion using AI/ML), hybrid cloud, and physical and cybersecurity. In the realm of Managed Services, NTT has integrated Cisco SDWAN and Meraki into their Managed Services Platform, which supports their delivery of Managed Secure SDWAN and Meraki Managed Services. With NTT, Cisco’s drive for software defined networks has been proven with a full lifecycle approach focused on, but not limited to, DNAC integration, including measured steps and rewards for onboarding, activation, use realization, and adoption.

I truly believe that our team maximizes the value that Cisco and our Strategic Partners bring to customers, and that we manage strategic partnering better than anyone else in the industry. Period. In the coming months, I’ll share more examples of how we’re collaborating with these partners to help them innovate, differentiate and grow.


Learn how Cisco and our Strategic Partners are working together, visit our Strategic Partner Organization SalesConnect Hub (Cisco log-in required).


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Nick Holden

Vice President

Global Strategic Partners and Co-sell