Will You Sniff and Scurry? Or Hem and Haw?

One of my favorite business parables is a New York Time’s bestseller by Dr. Spencer Johnson, Who moved my cheese? It is a tale of adapting to change, for change happens and is constant. The way to cope is to anticipate, monitor, adapt, change, enjoy the change, then repeat. This parable is my favorite because it transcends space and time: the space and time in which our business operates.

Within the context of networking, we are no less in a seismic shift. Digital business transformations are happening across all industries. As the industry’s leader for the past 30 years, we know change is constant, and we too are constant at anticipating and monitoring change. Such was the case and the reason for our most recent network innovations: the concept of intent-based networking, we are delivering a network that is powered by intent and informed by context.

What got you here, won’t necessarily move you forward.

What worked for the past 35 years won’t necessarily work in the future. Research indicates there are two seismic shifts: [a] the way in which our customers consume products and solutions and [b] the skills required of partners in the new digital business era. Customer consumption behaviors favor software and subscription. And the reasons why, as stated by Christy Petty in Gartner’s Moving to a Software Subscription Model are as follows:

  1. Software monetization
  2. Faster time to market
  3. On-going access to innovation
  4. Flexibility to scale up or down
  5. Control over costs

Cisco anticipated this change, monitored and adapted to it. We built network innovations that address new customer and business needs: Software-Defined Access, Network Assurance and Analytics, Encrypted Traffic Analytics, and SD-WAN. We offer an on-premise or cloud-managed deployment model and new flexible software consumption models: Cisco ONE subscription licensing, Meraki subscription licensing, and Cisco Enterprise Agreements (EA). What’s next is for you, our valued partners, to embrace the change. And we even have a formula for you. We call it a digital practice.

Core Pillars of a Digital Practice

What is a digital practice? It is a partner business model that helps you complete an architectural sale in a way that can differentiate your expertise and maximize your profitability. There are four components, each with key focus areas.

  • Start with the Architecture – Leverage Cisco intent-based network, Cisco DNA, as a platform to deliver proof of values. Show the capabilities of DNA Assurance, Analytics, and Security via demos. Also establish eCommerce marketplaces to sell, deploy, and provision virtual software offers.
  • Integrate Security – It’s no longer only the responsibility of the security team to protect your customer’s business. Security must be integrated into the architecture and solutions. Leverage the concepts of ‘network visibility and enforcement’ to drive policy and business intent across users, apps, devices and things. For this, you’ll need to tap into the expertise of both your network and security sales teams.
  • Drive Software Consumption – Adopt. Expand. Renew. Land the software sales with Cisco EA, Cisco ONE subscription or Meraki subscriptions. You’ll need to establish lifecycle service (customer success) processes to induce and successfully implement business outcome based software solutions adoption. Then, build additional business values with custom application development or joint solutions using programmable APIs.
  • Accelerate with Professional Services – The new frontiers for partner services are in analytics, optimization, cybersecurity, and network programming, etc. As such, set a base with automation, then drive towards more value-added managed services such as business insights, vertical solutions, and IoT solutions.

How do you get started?

  1. Architecture sales – It starts with getting your customer’s network to be DNA-ready: built for the challenges of today and tomorrow. This means modernizing your customer’s network with automation (SD-Access) in mind. Leverage access and routing products that are DNA-ready such as the Catalyst 9000, Aironet 3800 APs, ASR/ISR and much more.
  2. Build a secure DNA-ready network. Use Network Visibility Enforcement (NVE). Leverage a policy engine: Cisco ISE. These will give you a tremendous cross-architecture play with lots of service and business outcome based value for your customers.
  3. Position all the innovations in a Cisco ONE Advantage suite with 3, 5, or 7 years terms, and attractive TCO. It also helps your customer better control costs, i.e. fixed CapEx to predictable OpEx.
  4. This Intent-based network will be the gift that keeps on giving. From fabric design consulting services to adoption, optimization, and analytic services, your Service team can either develop the know-how in-house or complement and supplement the gaps with Cisco Advanced Services.

Our Commitment

The most important variable of any sales motion is profitability. Cisco is committed to our partner’s success. For FY18, we’ve rolled out improved incentives to help partners drive the right sales motion. These include upfront discounts, rebates, and rewards for DNA software activation. Partners who are willing to make the transformation will enjoy lucrative margins. Check out these resources to learn more about the innovations, incentives and enablement we’re investing in you.

  • The Network. Intuitive (cs.co/ciscodna)
  • DNA Center demo (cs.co/endCloud)
  • Cisco differentiators (cs.co/encompetitive)
  • Partner incentives (cs.co/enincentives)
  • Partner enablement (cs.co/enenablement)

Own It

Going back to Who moved my cheese, Sniff and Scury were aware and adapted to change right from the beginning. As such, when their supply of cheese disappeared, they had a plan in place and quickly began executing. As for Hem and Haw, they learned it the hard way, but eventually also overcame their fear of the unknown and made it to the new cheese station. Change is constant and will happen. Only when we own it will we triumph.