During the Cisco Live event that Cisco hosted in Cancun, Mexico, in early December, the company reasserted its commitment to accelerate not only its own digital transformation program but the digitization of the broader ecosystem, including its thousands of partners, its customers, and even the countries where it does business.
Cisco is one of the largest IT companies in the world and a global leader in networking, with interests in areas such as security, data centers, telecoms, and IoT, among many others. It is, therefore, a company that should be listened to when it is talking about the main trends in the industry.
One aspect of the company's plans for digital transformation is often overlooked, though: its Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program, under which Cisco identifies countries with a well-defined digital agenda and partners with local governments, research institutions, and companies to accelerate the implementation of digitization. Cisco's involvement can take many forms, but, in practical terms, it means the company invests in specific projects, usually with partners, that it believes will be a catalyst for further development in the digital economy of the country.
Mexico is the only Latin American country to be part of the CDA so far. Cisco is finalizing an Advanced Technology Center in the country to foster projects in manufacturing, specifically those that involve "Industry 4.0" technologies of cyber-physical systems. Cisco is partnering with Tec de Monterrey, one of the most prestigious academic institutions in Mexico.
Cisco's selection of Mexico is an example of the positive feedback that private and public efforts can create: Mexico has been one of the most active countries in the region in pursuing a digital agenda and telecoms reform, implementing projects such as Mexico Conectado (in which Cisco is a supplier), a program connecting more than 100,000 public sites, such as schools and hospitals, and launching Red Compartida, a wholesale wireless operator offering broadband in the 700MHz band.
Cisco is analyzing other markets in Latin America, and the case of Mexico should be a lesson to other countries, showing that well designed and well executed national digital plans can attract investment from the private sector. Countries that fail to understand this will lose opportunities to those more agile in attracting capital to their economies.
"Cisco's focus on software means new challenges and opportunities for its Latin American partners," GLB007-000052 (April 2018)
Ari Lopes, Principal Analyst, Latin America