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    Cisco CDA, Greece Create a Solutions Platform at a National Level

    The Cisco CDA (Country Digital Acceleration) program is unique in the market and is designed to work collaboratively at a nation and state level. Its goal is to both help the local government deal with critical problems in line with Cisco’s solutions and place Cisco in a trusted position so that both benefit from a deeper level of engagement.  

    The latest project in Greece highlights the power and potential of this collaborative approach because it places Cisco at the heart of Greece’s digital transformation. This program is also expected to positively impact everything from Greece’s education system to the country’s resilience efforts post-pandemic. The collaboration also helps ensure the country’s green and digital transformation programs are successful.  

    I’m fascinated by the CDA program primarily due to its uniqueness and impressive success record across most continents and how it plays at a national level and above where most vendors currently can engage.  

    Cisco CDA

    What makes the CDA program unique is that it isn’t focused on selling Cisco products so much as on understanding the priorities and needs of large government entities.  It was used broadly during the pandemic to help governments move aging politicians to WebEx so that debates and votes could be done securely from the politicians’ homes.  Projects tend to be very large with impacts that approach national levels and fully establish a strong relationship between Cisco and the government they have helped on the generally successful completion of those projects.  

    The program’s value to the government is that it provides access to a relatively unbiased set of human resources that know its needs and limitations.  This knowledge helps create an affordable solution that meets the government’s needs while not exceeding its limitations.  

    The principal goal isn’t selling; instead, it assures the government’s needs are understood and that the solution meets those needs while falling within the limited funds it has to spend.  It is critical to point out this focus because most effort to sell to governments is focused on making the sale, not on assuring the outcome. The result is that more government efforts from non-Cisco companies fail rather spectacularly. 

    Also read: 5 Digital Transformation Hurdles and How to Get Over Them

    Cisco CDA and Greece

    The effort in Greece exemplifies the full promise of CDA. It is a broad initiative that increases the professional educational resources available to the country focused on advancing Greece’s technological competence and capability through a collaborative framework. This framework was driven jointly by Kyriakos Pierrakakis, Minister of Digital Governance in Greece; Cisco’s Gerri Elliott, EVP and Chief Customer and Partner Officer; Guy Diedrich, VP, and Global Innovation Officer; and Antonis Tsiboukis, the Managing Director at Cisco Greece.  

    This Greek/Cisco CDA effort is the broadest I’ve seen so far.  Goals include digitization and security of public sector services, establishing hybrid learning models for Greek schools, spinning up new cybersecurity and IT skills in Greece, helping to establish Greece’s digital ports of the future, and helping Greece with foundational support on its journey to building a resilient and inclusive economy and society. 

    A significant part of this effort consists of opening a Cisco Digital Transformation and Skills Center in Thessaloniki. This center is focused on developing practical, affordable solutions through the application of Cisco, and Cisco partner, solutions.  This effort has additional partners in educational and institutional research entities. The focus for this last effort includes improving Greek quality of life (like Smart Cities), health systems, rural development, tourism, environmental protection, and civil protection, among others.  

    A Unique Working Foundation

    The Cisco CDA program is the only corporate program I’m aware of that focuses on the relationship at a governmental scale over sales to that government. The effort initially works to build a foundation of trust and then, without violating that trust, moves to put Cisco and the critical junction between national need and technological capability, providing a reliable, trustworthy, and trusted path to an assured solution benefitting the participating government.  

    This effort is unique because that focus is on building relationships, not on selling products, and when the two things come into conflict, favoring the relationship over sales revenue. In the end, both the staffing level, from both the government partner and Cisco, makes the CDA effort as successfully unique as it has become.  

    Read next: Using Responsible AI to Push Digital Transformation

    Rob Enderle
    As President and Principal Analyst of the Enderle Group, Rob provides regional and global companies with guidance in how to create credible dialogue with the market, target customer needs, create new business opportunities, anticipate technology changes, select vendors and products, and practice zero dollar marketing. For over 20 years Rob has worked for and with companies like Microsoft, HP, IBM, Dell, Toshiba, Gateway, Sony, USAA, Texas Instruments, AMD, Intel, Credit Suisse First Boston, ROLM, and Siemens.

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