Cisco Launches Digital Navigator Partner Assessment Tool

It aims to help partners gain competency in offering business transformation solutions.

Jeffrey Schwartz

December 14, 2018

4 Min Read

Cisco has added a new online interactive assessment tool to help prepare its partners for opportunities with customers who would benefit from solutions that enable digital transformation.

The company this week launched its Cisco Digital Navigator, which is now available to all registered partners. Revealed at last month’s Cisco Partner Summit in Las Vegas, Digital Navigator builds on the company’s emphasis at the annual gathering that partners can expand their services by offering software-based solutions that build on the company’s Digital Network Architecture (DNA).


Cisco’s Andres Sintes

Cisco created the new tool to help partners engage more effectively with customers by assessing their business-modernization needs and how new digital transformation solutions built on DNA from Cisco and its ecosystem can provide tangible business improvements.

Digital Navigator helps partners assess their capabilities of offering digital solutions that are designed to help customers transform or modernize their businesses or achieve a specific outcome. It then provides a custom road map to help customers gain the competency they need to deliver the desired solutions, and on a broader scale, transform their own go-to-market models.

“After they go through the assessment, they review a set of recommendations and actions that are very specific to them and then they need to act on that,” said Andres Sintes, senior executive of Cisco’s worldwide partner organization.

“They need to decide whether to build, by taking the steps that we provide as far as what training they should be taking to close those gaps, or to partner,” he added. “And what we mean by that, is which ecosystem partners they should partner with. And we point them to the ones who are most relevant to that solution capability they want to offer and then we provide support to be able to help them make that engagement.”

Digital Navigator can help partners determine how to launch new buying centers, consulting specialty opportunities to work with other partners, shift to managed services ,and add software development and integration capabilities.

“The content is really helping us understand how to initiate conversations around digitization and the digital portfolio Cisco has,” said Gladys Kline, national sales director for pre-sales engineering at CoreBTS, a Cisco gold partner that has tested the tool with its sales teams, management and leadership.

“These are relatively new conversations with our sellers,” Kline added. “Some of the content it is providing is helping our sellers indicate where those conversations should be had and how to expand existing conversations that they’re having. So we’re really kind of utilizing it as an enablement tool.”

For example, Kline said CoreBTS had no trouble addressing the first wave of demand for last year’s release of the Cisco Catalyst 9000, which helped grow CoreBTS’ switching business 63 percent. But Kline said CoreBTS wasn’t as successful in meeting the full potential of addressing the new switch’s capability to deliver on …

… Cisco’s software-defined opportunity, “intent-based networking” based on DNA.

“We did a very, very good job in having discussions with our customers about the latest generation switch,” she said. “Where we kind of fell a little bit short was getting the enablement around the DNA licensing, helping the customer understand the visibility that they can get into their network now.”

Since deploying the Digital Navigator, Kline said it helped explain CoreBTS sales, consulting and leadership teams on how to step up the company’s software practice, which has resulted in the software practice increasing sales 13 percent over the past four months.

We were able to go to our installed base and expand our discussion around software,” she said.

The tool has also helped leadership understand the value of the DNA software offerings, which have a different revenue model than switches, which have specific one-time pricing and are typically big-ticket sales, Kline noted.

“It’s easy to look at [the] hardware perspective; … how much does this switch cost?” she said. “When you’re looking at software, you’re now looking at more recurring revenue because it’s a licensing model. Digital Navigator helped us introduce that to our leadership to help them understand that our sellers can look at a new way of selling and a new way of retiring revenue by that recurring business.”

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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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