New Cisco OT Route to Market Opens New Partner Set

Operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) are converging, and Cisco is deepening its relationships, resources and solutions for partners in OT.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

February 29, 2024

Cisco has launched a new initiative geared toward operational technology (OT) manufacturers and partners.

The vendor just announced the Cisco OT route to market, which will include suppliers Wesco, Industrial Networking Solutions and Madison Technologies. They have signed on with Cisco's distributors, who will allow those vendors' traditional partners to sell Cisco's Industrial IoT (IIoT) and Meraki IoT offerings.

In the meantime, Cisco is targeting a new field of partners: industrial integrators, who have historically focused on technology regarded as non-IT, such as physical security, lighting and solar power. Cisco will invest in educating and training those partners, encouraging them to earn its industrial IoT and commercial IoT specializations.

Cisco has been hosting free training sessions across the globe over the last six months for OT-focused partners, and those partners have been showing up.

"Hundreds of these industrial integrators will come in," said Jason Gallo, vice president of Cisco partner go-to-market acceleration. "They're sending their engineers to be educated, because they see the value of a free training session from Cisco to learn the product line."

Gallo said the new route to market will help the vendor land new logos and go deeper with current accounts.


"The route is allowing us to tap into customers in a market that needs to have disruption and needs to have all of the digitization that we offer, and we just have not had as efficient of a route to get to it," Gallo said.

Cisco OT Route to Market

Gallo said OT and IT previously existed in heavily distinct silos. He said that Cisco's technology portfolio previously wasn't ready to touch many of those OT use cases.

But that has changed, with Cisco's offerings growing more relevant.

"Now with our industrial IoT (IIoT) product line, we've really evolved. Our Meraki cameras and sensors are now evolved for these more broad applications," Gallo told Channel Futures.

Moreover, he pointed to Cisco's increased focus on being a platform company.

"We're serving up these products as a platform, and then you as a partner can build on top of it all of your secret sauce," he said. "That now says, 'All right, it's not just customizing use cases in the carpeted space. I can customize these use cases for any application, opening up the OT side as well into these traditionally harsher environments and the OT market."

Gallo said many of Cisco's traditional IT partners have stayed away from OT, citing its unfamiliarity. Gallo said incremental steps into the space are more possible than ever.

"IoT convergence with the OT side doesn't have to be something that is so unreachable. For partners on the OT or the IoT side, you can start with something as simple as a fanless switch in a harsh or cold outdoor environment, and that's really meeting the needs of the customer," he said.

OT Supplier Perspectives

Suppliers in the OT route to market acknowledged the progress Cisco has made in the space.

"The Cisco OT Supplier RTM model has been a useful tool for unlocking more opportunities in this space," Industrial Networking Solutions president Richard Rogers said. "Cisco has taken a big step toward meeting the Industrial OT market in a way that makes sense for these types of customers and ecosystem partners."

Madison Technologies CEO Paul Calabro said his company can now offer its channel partners more solutions to sell by adding Cisco's IIoT and Meraki IoT offerings.

"It's fundamental to enabling Industry 4.0 across operational environments we target. This partnership is about so much more than product access; it's about shaping the future of industrial connectivity, fostering IT/OT convergence, and fast-tracking digital transitions in critical operational environments," Calabro said.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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