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Partnering in a Digital India

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Partnering in a Digital India

Wendy Bahr, Senior Vice President, Global Partner Organization, Cisco

The article was published in the Economic Times

IDC predicts that cloud, big data, mobile, and social will drive more than 90 per cent of growth in IT spending over the next five years. The Internet of Everything (IoE) is expected to create $19 trillion of business value over the next ten years. These technology trends and others have paved the way for a strong partner ecosystem in which Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), technology partners, and consulting firms are working together to address changing market conditions, enable flexible consumption models, and help customers achieve their desired business outcomes.

The changing world of IT

In this new digital economy, simply selling a product is no longer enough. I speak with customers all over the world and what I often hear from them is that they need solutions that differentiate them from their competition. They are looking for these solutions to help them deliver business outcomes that enable growth and profitability. These kinds of technology investments are increasingly being driven by business leaders, and it is important to engage not just with IT practitioners but also with lines of business on these emerging technologies.

Companies are redirecting IT spending towards initiatives that transform their businesses and bring about fundamental changes to their operations. This calls for seamless integration with operational technologies to deliver on these better business outcomes. Future business success is as much about skills investment in these emerging areas as it is about capital investment.

To capitalize on this opportunity, it is important that companies build new skill sets to make themselves relevant to their customers. Businesses must also have the ability to forge new partnering ecosystems and build new business models. Gaining expertise in verticals like manufacturing or specialization in connected safety and security can also help companies better understand and deliver powerful vertical market solutions. Finally, companies and partner ecosystems need to develop a better understanding of operational technology practices - beyond IT sales and technical training - in order to gain expertise and provide the best solutions for their customers.

Start-ups and SMBs

India currently has the fourth largest start-up community in the world with more than 3,100. A large number of these have been created in the past three years alone, thanks to public and private start-up accelerators and incubators. According to a NASSCOM - Zinnov Survey, India will have over 10,000 start-ups by 2020. Most will pin their success on IT-led business models and will look for partners to collaborate with as they aim to create better offerings and better value for their customers.

There is also a growing small and midsize business (SMB) segment looking to adopt cloud computing, mobility, big data, analytics, and IoE in order to improve operational efficiency and customer experience. This market is largely underserved, and these businesses are looking for partners who can deliver turnkey solutions - that is, ready-to-use systems that include design, implementation and ongoing operational support. In order to provide these solutions - and improve their chances of competing for this business - vendors must move out of their comfort zones and partner with other businesses that can complement their offerings.

Digital India

The Digital India initiative aims to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. Its three main goals are to provide digital infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen, to deliver citizen services and entitlements on demand, and ensure universal digital literacy throughout India.

According to the latest Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) forecast, the number of networked devices will increase from 1.1 billion in 2014 to 1.6 billion by 2019. By then, there will be more than 650 million smartphones in India. This opens up unprecedented opportunities for solution partners to gain value from networked connections among people, processes, data and things.

By leveraging the leading-edge technology available today, organizations can develop unique solutions that not only build on the momentum created by the Digital India opportunity, but address the needs of both government and the private sector entities. Choosing the right partners, creating differentiated offerings, and transforming business models - all while providing better outcomes and experiences for customers - will be the key ingredients for success in this new digital era.

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