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Cisco’s Partnering For Purpose Initiative Includes Sustainability, Social Responsibility

Gina Narcisi

‘It’s about doing good while doing business. That’s the alignment we’ve had with Cisco,’ one Cisco partner tells CRN about the company’s Partnering for Purpose initiative.

Doing good is good for business, according to Cisco Systems.

“Every time we sit down with a partner, we’re talking about tech and the work, and then what they often say to me is, ‘You’re doing some really great stuff in the community. How can we get involved? How can we be part of that?” Luxy Thuraisingam, Cisco’s head of global partner marketing and SMB, told CRN.

Cisco at Partner Summit 2022 last month introduced Partnering for Purpose, a platform and program that lets partners join the tech giant in tackling issues including digital inclusion, environmental stewardship and responding to critical human needs during crises. This month, the company officially launched the initiative.

“When this idea came to create the platform where our partners all over the world can access our content, our insights and experiences and the tools on how they can launch it within their organizations, it was an immediate yes,” Thuraisingam said.

[Related: Cisco’s Chuck Robbins On XaaS: We ‘Realized We Weren’t As Operationally Ready’ ]

In a blog post on the launch of Partnering for Purpose published in December, Thuraisingam, a co-author on the blog, along with Cisco Channel Chief Oliver Tuszik and Senior Vice President and Chief Social Impact Officer Brian Tippens, said that the company’s next step was to bring together the tools, capabilities and experiences with Cisco’s trusted partners around the world to further Cisco’s commitment to powering an inclusive future for all.

“Cisco is really putting their money where their mouth is in helping diverse firms and, in my opinion, Cisco is taking the lead on providing resources and strategy alignment,” said Emmanuel Ola-Dake, managing director of Molaprise, a cloud and cybersecurity-focused solution provider and Cisco partner.

Minority-owned Molaprise, based in New York City, has a passion for developing and retaining qualified, local individuals who represent the diverse community of the city. The compny launched a NextGen program last year that’s focused on investing in recent college graduates and building up people of color in the tech industry.

Molaprise got involved with Cisco through the company’s African American Cisco Partner Community (AACPC) program. “Where we were really aligned was with our own NextGen program for fresh graduates in our communities that gives them certifications so that they can be more competitive in the marketplace. That leads to economic empowerment because without that, there’s no equity,” Ola-Dake said.

Partnering for Purpose gives Molaprise access to resources and training materials to help uplevel individuals and give them the skill sets they need, as well as strategy alignment and marketing resources so the company can align its own business strategy with Cisco initiatives.

“It’s about doing good while doing business. That’s the alignment we’ve had with Cisco,” he said.

Cisco was very purposeful in building the Partnering for Purpose platform so that partners can choose the issues that matter to them, Thuraisingam explained.

“It’s not Cisco saying, ‘You must do this’ [or] ‘Here’s the three options.’ It’s whatever it is important to them in their communities,” she said. “I love that you can kind of choose your own adventure and we give them the choice.”

One of the things that Cisco is committed to is reducing its footprint. The company has a goal of being net-zero emissions by 2040. As an example of the work that’s being done, Cisco’s own office in New York City boasts 59,00 square feet of space and hosts about 130 employees, partners and customers a day. Everything that can be connected—from lights and signage to window shades to thermostats—are on the network and can be controlled automatically in such a way that has led to 60 percent to 70 percent lower bills. But perhaps more importantly, connecting “things” to a low-voltage network can save thousands of pounds of materials, such as steel and copper, according to Mark Miller, Cisco’s director of business development and workplace technology strategist, who gave CRN a tour of the office in December.

Because Cisco does the vast majority of its business through the channel, partners are a central conduit to achieving the company’s environmental, social and governance measures, Thuraisingam said.

“Partners to me have always been a multiplier, so take the impact that Cisco has and now enable our partners, that’s great for communities and great for the world,” she said.

In fact, Cisco recently learned that about 99 percent of its carbon emissions are Scope 3, or emissions that are not produced by the company itself and not the result of activities from assets owned or controlled by them but by those that it’s indirectly responsible for, up and down its value chain. To bring those down, customer emissions need to be brought down, Thuraisingam said.

“That means we are actually increasingly dependent on partners to work with us,” she added.

 

Gina Narcisi

Gina Narcisi is a senior editor covering the networking and telecom markets for CRN.com. Prior to joining CRN, she covered the networking, unified communications and cloud space for TechTarget. She can be reached at gnarcisi@thechannelcompany.com.

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