Cisco: ISV Partnerships A Must To Seize Massive Internet Of Everything Opportunity--

Cisco Systems sees a massive opportunity for its channel in the emerging Internet of Everything, but urged partners this week not to try to seize it alone.

Addressing solution providers Tuesday at The Channel Companny's 2014 Best of Breed event, taking place this week in Orlando, Fla., Cisco's senior director of partner programs, Steve Benvenuto, said aligning with ISVs and app developers is a must for partners to succeed in the new Internet of Everything era.

"The technologies and the architectures that you have invested in are the foundation. They are the baseline," Benvenuto said. "But the future is about an expanded ecosystem of partners for you to go to market with and for you to go deliver business outcomes with."

Benvenuto told partners that forging alliances with ISVs developing apps for a specific line of business or vertical market is critical to winning in the Internet of Everything, especially for those partners not developing these applications in-house. This, he said, is because the Internet of Everything is largely about selling customers on business outcomes -- rather than technical speeds and feeds --- that are unique to their industry or line-of-business function.

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"There is a conversation happening -- and you guys are right in the middle of it as solution providers -- that says the line of business is becoming increasingly engaged in IT spend. There is a number we see that says by the end of the decade, 90 percent of the [IT] spend will be controlled by line of business," Benvenuto said. "So the ability to deliver business outcomes, jointly, is really critical."

Cisco is offering a number of resources to help solution providers find new ISV partners and ramp up for the Internet of Everything. In March, Cisco introduced its Solution Partner Program, aimed at attracting ISVs with industry-specific apps that can run on Cisco infrastructures.

Cisco also has what it calls a Solutions Marketplace, an online portal where solution providers can search for a particular application or ISV partner they need in order to move forward with a deal. Benvenuto said Cisco vets each ISV application before including it in the Solutions Marketplace to test and validate that it runs smoothly on Cisco gear, saving partners the headache of having to perform that testing on their own.

The Solutions Marketplace includes more than 1,000 Cisco ISV partners and roughly 85 tested solutions that Cisco channel partners can bring to market. What's more, all of these solutions are part of Cisco's Solution Incentive Program, meaning partners can earn rewards or additional discounts for selling them as part of their own Internet of Everything offerings.

"If you go to market with this community, there are additional channel incentives," Benvenuto said.

Benvenuto described the Internet of Everything -- a new phenomenon aimed at "connecting the unconnected" -- as the fourth major evolution of the Internet, following first the dawn of connectivity, then the e-commerce boom and, third, the "immersive experience" being driven today by social media, mobile devices and cloud.

Across the public and private sectors combined, Cisco sees a $19 trillion opportunity in the Internet of Everything, Benvenuto said.

Kevin Watne, founder of Generation IX Technologies, a Los Angeles-based solution provider, said he sees the long-term opportunity in the Internet of Everything but isn't sure it's something his company is ready to start investing in today.

"It makes complete sense and I think it's awesome, but I am wondering what, specifically, my investment and my opportunity is going to be," Watne said.

Cisco in July rolled out a new partner certification focused on the Internet of Everything, called the Cisco Industrial Networking Specialist, and said at its Global Partner Summit in March that it currently has more than 700 products focused on the trend, including industrialized routers, ruggedized switches and more.