In recent months, Cisco has made two significant announcements that will bring its solutions portfolio to a much broader audience.
The first involves its increasing interoperability, most notable in its collaboration with Microsoft.
The second includes the expansion of its already advanced routes to market strategy.
These two moves may fortify Cisco’s position as a leading communications vendor in the era of hybrid work.
Cisco Champions Interoperability
When thinking of video devices, Cisco is likely the first brand that springs to mind.
However, until recently, those devices worked best on a Cisco infrastructure. Now, the vendor has taken a giant leap into the realm of interoperability.
From its market-leading video devices, users can press a button on their home screen and join a Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet call.
The move acknowledges that not every business will use the same enterprise communication tools. In reality, there are many. Cisco ensures they work together to give its customers what they want.
Its recent Microsoft integration typifies this. As Kristyn Hogan, VP of Global Collaboration and Partner Sales at Cisco, says:
We have taken a big leap forward with interoperability, integrating with Microsoft, to ensure our video end-points natively register to a Microsoft solution.
In doing so, Cisco reaches a bigger audience, while Microsoft customers benefit from better end-point devices. It’s a win-win.
Yet, a significant bonus for Cisco is adding its Webex Contact Center to Teams. Recently talking to CX Today, Zeus Kerravala, Founder and Principal Analyst at ZK Research, stated:
Microsoft treats unified communications and the contact center almost like a feature of Office. Yet, Cisco sees the chance to make the Teams experience a better experience than Microsoft can.
There is precedence for this. Kerravala shares the example that “Box does document management better for Microsoft apps than Microsoft.”
As such, the move opens up significant growth for the Webex Contact Center. After all, Microsoft’s CCaaS solution is still in early development. Meanwhile, Cisco serves up a highly-regarded solution in which businesses can have more confidence.
Cisco Has Greatly Expanded Its Routes to Market
Being a stalwart vendor of big, bespoke, on-premise contact center solutions, Cisco has historically required specialists – with high expertise – to sell and deploy its solutions.
As a result, it installed an iron-clad fence around its channel program to protect its brand reputation and clients’ customer experiences.
For these reasons, only 300 global partners were authorized to sell Webex Contact Center solutions up until three months ago. Thanks to its cloud focus, this partner base has grown to 3,000.
Commenting on the reasons why, Hogan says:
That move alone is going to help us put the Webex Contact Center in the hands of customers we’ve never touched before.
Also, Cisco has opened its Webex CCaaS platform up to the agent route to market.
Launched 16 months ago, this route again brings Webex to a new customer base. Yet, it also gives its existing partners more choice and flexibility over how they transact with Cisco.
Finding success downmarket, with a calling, meetings, messaging, and devices offer, Cisco has now rounded this out to include the Webex Contact Center – giving its agents every chance of success.
“From day one of launching the agent route, they told us to give them the contact center,” adds Hogan.
“Then, when we looked at our technology services brokers in their business, contact center has been the fastest growing collaboration piece, enjoying six consecutive quarters of astronomical growth. So, we’re really excited to expand.”
Indeed, the CCaaS market has boomed in recent years, and reports suggest the market will double in size by 2027.
With its cloud-native platform, Webex is well-placed, achieving leader status in the 2022 Aragon Research Globe for the Intelligent Contact Center.
Cisco Focuses on Meeting Customers Where and How They Want to Buy
“We need to meet our customers where and how they want to buy.” – Chuck Robbins, Chair and CEO at Cisco.
By opening up its reseller and agent routes to market – while increasing its interoperability – Cisco adheres to its CEO’s vision.
Yet, it also explores other avenues, monitoring trends in how customers want to buy and acting fast to ensure its solutions are available.
The increasing presence of Webex on the Azure and AWS marketplaces is a testament to this. As is Cisco’s unrelenting focus on managed services, agent routes, and the wholesale market.
Consider the latter more closely. Historically, service providers build managed services around Cisco’s portfolio, find a customer, come back to Cisco, and negotiate a price. The process involved lots of little steps. Wholesale simplifies the process.
Sharing more details, Hogan states:
We’ve removed all of the friction and aligned with the velocity our partners require as they build managed services.
As they do so, Cisco paves the way for co-branded offers that service providers share through an existing relationship with SMBs.
“Our partner says: You want a collaboration portfolio that is the best in the business? Here is the Webex product, and we’re going to make it available to you,” adds Hogan.
As over 90 percent of Cisco’s business flows through its partner base, expanding such routes to market will open up many more business opportunities for the vendor.
Cisco Is Setting Itself Up for Success
It is the entire collaborations portfolio – which brings CCaaS together with CPaaS and UCaaS. It connects the enterprise, supports CX transformation, and paves the way for customer journey transformation.
Its new routes to market and increasing interoperability shine more light on these solutions, which often lead their respective spaces in many analyst reports.
In doing so, Cisco is making it quicker and easier than ever to harness its solutions.
To learn more about Cisco’s Webex suite, visit: www.webex.com