In today’s world of digital disruption, the customer experience is king and end-users are becoming sovereign decision makers who select their own portfolios of collaboration and content sharing SaaS tools. This pattern is driving tremendous innovation in the market and exponential growth for dozens of major new collaboration applications in use by knowledge workers globally. However, it has also led to a fragmented user experience where users must context shift between many tools which not only lack integration with existing enterprise collaboration assets, they cannot leverage the full potential of carrier networks for providing advanced network or mobility features.
We believe it is time to de-fragment the user experience and drive a new approach for SaaS and collaboration applications — an approach that deeply integrates service providers in the delivery in order to leverage technology and networks together and meet increasingly high customer expectations.
A great example of this approach is the announcement that Cisco and Verizon Enterprise Solutions made last week regarding Cisco Spark, a next generation collaboration solution. We’re teaming up to offer advanced collaboration services through the cloud to enterprise and government agencies around the globe. This is exciting news on several fronts:
Service Providers Deliver Network-differentiated SaaS
By integrating Cisco Spark, with the strength of Verizon’s mobile assets, network, and business collaboration service, we will be enhancing the way Cisco SaaS services are delivered and helping a key service provider secure a leading and differentiated role in the emerging cloud landscape. Spark is designed to enable a seamless experience, from mobile devices to telepresence-enabled board rooms, and we will be partnering with Verizon to add new capabilities for sophisticated fixed-mobile convergence use cases which show the power of combining Cisco SaaS offerings with the capabilities of our service provider partners.
Joint Development, Selling & Marketing
We’re better together. Service providers such as Verizon are at the center of our cloud strategy and we are committed to working with them through a unique SaaS model that will lead to expanded and enhanced services, agility in the marketplace and shared business outcomes. Spark has been designed to enable new forms of provider go-to-market, such as freemium trial models to drive end user adoption and a focus on easy user onboarding.
Speed is critical in the ever-changing digital world and it is expected that the next phase of cloud will be bigger and more disruptive than the last. With Cisco Spark, Verizon will be able to quickly extend its business collaboration portfolio and offer market-leading services on an accelerated timeline to its customers.
Helping Service Providers Become Platforms for Developer Innovation
We’ve also recently announced our Spark Innovation Fund, designed to accelerate developer adoption of the platform, enabling innovation and new collaboration experiences. This will allow service provider partners, such as Verizon, to tap into an ecosystem of vertical enhancements and other collaboration innovations built on Cisco’s Spark and Tropo platforms that can be integrated with a mobile network and existing Cisco collaboration capabilities. Verizon can also use the platform to develop its own collaboration offers, as the company recently demonstrated at Enterprise Connect by showing integration of Spark and other Cisco collaboration technologies with IoT sensor data for emergency response coordination in a municipal government environment. The potential for service provider innovation at this intersection of collaboration and IoT is vast and could lead to many differentiated vertical solutions.
I’m proud of the announcement that Cisco and Verizon made this week. Together with our service provider partners, Cisco is uniquely positioned to deliver an integrated network hybrid cloud service that provides the best customer experience available today. And that is exactly what Verizon’s Enterprise Solutions customers will receive with the addition of Cisco Spark to Verizon’s collaboration portfolio – a world class collaboration experience.