Most of us think of the word “disruption” as being negative. For instance, we get a late night phone call and our sleep is disrupted. Or we’re driving home from work and hit a traffic jam and our commute is disrupted. Whenever we’re comfortable and have a common routine that gets interrupted, it makes us a little irritated. That is the power that disruption has over us.

But in business, the power of disruption is even greater. If we continue to do the same thing, we might get left behind, and quickly. The world is continually evolving and technology is a catalyst for much of that change – think of Uber and the way it disrupted the public transportation business. Or Netflix and the way it changed the way we watch movies. The businesses that these two companies impacted are forever changed, if they even exist at all anymore. Can you hear the familiar sound of the bugle playing in the background for Blockbuster video?

Although disruption is a constant in our lives and is a necessary part of the world, it isn’t easy to face. And the more we resist, the more difficult it will be to adjust to the impending change in the long run. Often, we don’t realize the impact on us or the business until a disrupting force has hit critical mass. By then, it’s simply too late to make the necessary changes needed to adapt and survive.

Digitization is the latest significant disruption facing businesses around the world. The move to become fully digitized in response to the explosion of smart devices, the need for instantaneous information and hyper-connectivity is a source of increasing pressure. For some companies, that pressure is immediate. For others, they have a little more time before their business must adapt. But regardless of where a company exists on the digitization continuum, they must eventually evolve their business and adopt technology as an integral strategy for success.

Cisco partners are in a unique position to council companies through this challenging transition. The network is the backbone that enables full digitization and the security of that network and all connected applications and databases is paramount. Cisco is the only vendor on the market who can address ALL critical elements of business infrastructure through a Digital Ready Network. And those partners who understand both the network AND their customer’s business will be in the best position to add tremendous value to prospective and existing customers.

So what can Cisco partners do to ensure they are in the best position capitalize on the digitization boom? Here are a few tips to steer you in the right direction:

  • Focus on the customer’s business: If you don’t have the vertical expertise you need, partner with another reseller or software vendor who can bring that business expertise to the table. Cisco Partners can leverage the Cisco Marketplace to locate and identify business applications and solutions that solve your customers’ issues. You need to understand your customers’ pain points to have the credibility required to close the deal. If you don’t have that business knowledge, partner with someone who does.
  • Create a sense of urgency: As mentioned above, all companies will eventually need to make the digitization leap if they haven’t already. Helping customers understand the importance of staying IN FRONT of market trends is one of the best ways to win the deal. After all, those that hesitate may find that it’s too late.
  • Stay on top of market trends and share that knowledge with your customers: Being a “consultant” and sharing insights on changes in business trends is a key way to differentiate yourself and your business. Offering solutions that help customers keep up with these trends will get their attention. Attending networking events, reading trade magazines and staying up on current events that impact your customers, will allow you to be that critical advisor. Use this information as a “reason to call” to continue to stay relevant with prospects and install customers.

Regardless of the type of business, your customers will need advice on how to move into the digitization era. Helping them understand how they can leverage technology to transform is powerful way for Cisco partners to add value. The sooner they start down the digitization journey, the better off they will be.


Karin Surber

Sr. Global Business Development Manager

Global Partner Strategy and Planning