Partner ecosystems build IP with Cisco, SAP

Channel companies collaborate with technology providers, creating differentiated offerings that address customer demand for business outcomes; other IT channel news.

Cisco and SAP detailed plans to co-create services and intellectual property with their partner ecosystems this week.

In separate partner updates last week, the two technology vendors cited the increasing importance of cooperatively designing and selling offerings. Industry executives use different terms to classify this type of collaboration -- co-innovation, co-development and generative partnering, to name a few -- but the underlying rationale is the same: More minds are better than one when it comes to addressing customers' complex problems.

Collaboration is key to addressing customer requirements that have only become more demanding as enterprises look for business "outcomes" rather than technical architectures. Buyers are particularly interested in offerings that boost user and customer experience, fortify security, and meet their industry-specific needs. Cloud technologies and consumption-based models are typically part of the mix.

Cisco invests in service creation

Alexandra Zagury, vice president of managed services and as-a-service sales at Cisco, said during a Cisco roundtable on managed services that the company is focusing on "service creation" with MSPs. In this approach, Cisco works with a partner to co-develop an offering formed from the vendor's platform-based portfolio. Cisco and the partner then co-sell the offering, made available to customers through a partner catalog.

Cisco has more than 100 service creation projects underway across its geographic regions, Zagury said. She also cited more than 20 engagements through Cisco's Secure Access Service Edge Lighthouse program, which uses service creation to accelerate the uptake of emerging technologies such as SASE. Amid those initiatives, Cisco has tripled its service creation resources worldwide.

Logicalis Group, which has transitioned from VAR to MSP in recent years, has upped its focus on co-development, according to Michael Chanter, COO of the London-based company. He noted the example of the company's Secure OnMesh cybersecurity offering that brings together Microsoft's Azure Sentinel, Cisco SecureX and Logicalis' own IP.

"If we can combine the best capabilities that we find from Cisco and Microsoft, or our other key partners, and then apply our own IP and service management on top of that, we tend to find that is really resonant in the market," Chanter said.

IP development checklist
More partners are following the IP path.

SAP taps partners for Industry Cloud

At the SAP Partner Live online event, the enterprise software company emphasized helping partners create IP. SAP executives, in a follow-up interview, provided additional details on that strategy.

Partner IP comes in a couple of forms, noted Tom Roberts, senior vice president of software partner solutions at SAP. He described an "integrate to" IP method where a partner creates an offering that connects with SAP's technology. In this scenario, SAP and a partner work collaboratively to build the integration piece that sits between the partner's IP and SAP, Roberts explained. The co-developers use the Integration Suite within SAP's Business Technology Platform (BTP) to make that happen.

The other source of IP stems from partners building on top of BTP. Roberts compared this approach to partners creating offerings that run on AWS, Google Cloud Platform or other hyperscaler clouds. The difference is that BTP is SAP specific and offers access to features such as the Integration Suite, he added.

SAP's Industry Cloud is one area where SAP platforms intersect with partner IP. Partners will provide 80% of the IP for Industry Cloud, while SAP contributes 20%, according to the technology company. Industry clouds, which bring cloud technology to industry niches, call for co-innovation, according to partners.

We see new types of partners popping up.
Jan SchneiderVice president and head of the Industry Cloud ecosystem, SAP

SAP wouldn't disagree.

"This 80% is a huge opportunity," said Jan Schneider, vice president and head of the Industry Cloud ecosystem at SAP. "We see new types of partners popping up. They're not software partners. They are midmarket channel, VAR partners, regional partners."

SAP makes its 20% contribution "transparent" by publishing its industry portfolio and a roadmap of its development plans over the next two or three years, Schneider said. This information guides partners on where they should invest, he noted.

Roberts cited BearingPoint Business Services, a management and technology consultancy, as a partner that developed an offering that works with SAP Industry Cloud. BearingPoint's is an equipment and tools rental and lifecycle management application that sells on the SAP Store marketplace.

"It's an example of where a partner that would normally contribute its IP in the form of an engagement is now doing that in codified IP that's coming across as a solution," Roberts said.

Merger and acquisition updates

  • Ahead, a cloud services provider headquartered in Chicago, boosted its presence in the Southwest with the acquisition of vCore Technology Partners. The addition of vCore, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., creates a combined business with more than $2 billion in revenue, more than $200 million of which is in professional and managed services. Ahead has grown through mergers and acquisitions in recent years, combining with companies including Data Blue in 2019, Kovarus in 2020 and Vertical Trail in 2021.
  • Netsurit, an MSP based in New York, has acquired Evoke, a digital transformation company. The deal furthers Netsurit's North American expansion, the company having acquired Cyber City and Real Time Inc. in 2021. Netsurit has revenue of more than $30 million.

Other news

  • Management software provider Kaseya, headquartered in Miami, launched a tool for MSPs and SMBs to assess IT requirement gaps, remediate them and help prove compliance with automated documentation. The tool, Compliance Manager GRC, brings together data and reporting requirements in one dashboard to assess and comply with multiple standards, and pinpoint employee-initiated changes to Azure environments and Microsoft Office cloud services. Compliance Manager GRC offers a portal for employees to view mandatory trainings and employer policies.
  • Hakkoda, a cloud data services company in Boulder, Colo., rolled out a multiparty analytics offering focused on Snowflake and designed for financial services companies. The offering will let banks and lenders glean customer insights with deeper analytics from their Snowflake Data Cloud, the company said. In addition, Hakkoda has launched a division to design, build and manage data platforms for financial institutions. To lead the division, the company hired Anand Pandya, previously chief data officer at Informa Financial Intelligence's Curinos subsidiary. Partners are generating more business in cloud data platforms.
  • Ingram Micro Cloud, an AWS distributor in Irvine, Calif., has obtained AWS DevOps Competency status. That status signifies for partners and their customers that Ingram Micro Cloud offers validated technical skills for implementing continuous integration and continuous delivery practices, according to the distributor.
  • Nearly every MSP has experienced a successful cyber attack in the last 18 months, according to research commissioned by N-able Inc., a Durham, N.C., company that offers software for service providers. The study, based on a poll of 500 MSPs, found that 90% of respondents reported some form of attack. The survey also noted that the number of attacks MSPs prevent each month has increased from six to 11, with phishing, DDoS and ransomware among the main types of incursions.
  • Brillio, a digital transformation services provider in Edison, N.J., established two new global delivery centers in Guadalajara, Mexico, and Mississauga, Ont. The delivery centers will provide nearshore bases for services such as Client Value Engineering and Advisory and Data Analytics Engineering.
  • SaaS provider Freshworks, with headquarters in San Mateo, Calif., enhanced its partner program with three expanded tiers -- Preferred, Authorized and Registered -- for resellers and partners. The program also added a new partner CRM system, certification framework for systems integrators, in-region resources for preferred partners and collaboration with account executives. Freshworks appointed Hervé Danzelaud as vice president of global channels, alliances, marketplace and startups.

Executive appointments

  • CrowdStrike Holdings Inc., a cybersecurity company in Austin, Texas, has promoted Michael Rogers to vice president of global business development, channel and alliances. He was previously the company's global vice president of partner and alliance sales.
  • MSP360, a backup and IT management software provider for MSPs, appointed Alexandra Courson as vice president of sales. She joins the Pittsburgh company from Awareness Technologies.

Additional reporting by Kristen Gloss.

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