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The Importance of Our Cisco DevNet Specialization

We've recently achieved the Cisco DevNet Specialization. Why does that matter to WWT?

June 17, 2020 6 minute read

What is the DevNet Specialization?

Cisco announced the DevNet Specialization for partners on May 27th, 2020. The DevNet Specialization gives partners a path to build or enhance a software development practice that focuses on automation and application development on top of Cisco platforms. WWT is excited about this specialization and wasted no time rallying resources to achieve this designation. 

In this article, we'll discuss the value of the DevNet specialization for WWT and look at the top five reasons for the commitment.

In general, the new specialization offers two levels of recognition to validate a partner's technical skills, development practice and past customer engagements: the Specialized and Advanced levels. Read more about the specific DevNet Specialization details.

1. Industry transformation

Software-defined networking has evolved considerably over the last decade. Cisco has been one of the leaders in the push towards network controllers and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to enable automation and programmability of networking platforms. Integrators and customers can deliver outcomes at a significantly faster pace, with a higher degree of accuracy and at a lower cost as a direct result of this evolution. 

The need to be flexible and to build solutions that adapt to changing business conditions has never been more relevant than it is now. Events like the recent pandemic help to highlight how quickly significant changes can occur for our customers. The effective use of automation and programmability to rapidly enable or reconfigure services to adapt to such pressures is critically important.

The new partner program reflects customers' need to find partners with the capabilities around programmability to help them evaluate and build solutions on top of Cisco products. As a global systems integrator, WWT's technical skills and strategy align well with Cisco's direction. We recognize the value of the program to hone our ability to shepherd our customers through their journey.

2. WWT strategy transformation

As a Technology Solutions Provider, industry transformations influence how we work with customers to help them navigate options for solutions to build and manage their infrastructures.

We have to rise to the challenge and move with the industry continuously. We also have to look past single-technology solutions and evaluate our customer's environments and needs holistically. This approach entails not only designing and delivering technology but even paying attention to organizational structure and how teams align the technology solutions with the business outcomes.

The fact that the DevNet specialization includes requirements for both business and technical roles played a significant factor for WWT considering the program. We have transformed how we engage with customers to include business tools like our Technology Alignment Workshop to ensure that technology solutions are always outcome-based. We also leverage our Value Stream Mapping Workshop to help customers determine the end-to-end steps within a process and identify the highest value items to target for automation.

3. Customer transformation

It is increasingly rare for us to have an architectural discussion with customers without some components of automation and programmability, and how those need to connect with operations that have to be agile and robust.

The ability for a customer to quickly respond to business pressures depends on where they land on the maturity scale for automation and programmability. At WWT, we have committed to helping our customers by ensuring that we are enabling our pre and post-sales engineers to support their automation and programmability needs.

We have customers at all different points on the maturity scale. Some are aggressive and rapidly moving towards their end goals, and others are just getting started. Our customers rely on us to help unravel the complexities and build solutions that drive them towards the end goal.

To that end, the DevNet certifications have been a successful enablement tool for us. We have created study groups with members from teams that are on the front lines with our customers from both pre and post-sales capacity. We are better able to impact our customers with the refined skills earned through the entire process. Our groups also help us take that message to a broader audience to increase the scale and include new, passionate, innovative thinkers in the WWT community.

4. Services transformation

The way we deliver services is another area where we continue to observe drastic changes. Evolving client needs towards more business agility and flexibility require that a services organization have the skills and an ecosystem to stay ahead of the curve.

The ecosystem for us centers around our Advanced Technology Center (ATC) that allows every professional services engineer to explore designs and build complex integrations for our customers. Using the DevNet study groups as an enablement tool, we are now ensuring that even the engineers outside of the automation practice can augment their deep domain expertise with automation skills.

The most critical aspects of service delivery are consistency, speed and accuracy. We know that even the smallest change to large and complex systems can have significant impacts, so developing well-tested and reusable automation has been an essential focus for our services organization. Engineers who were new to automation and programmability are now learning how to stitch their infrastructure delivery experiences with automation skills to maintain the highest quality while facing increasingly complex demands. The study groups and our foundational labs reinforce the concepts learned through the DevNet certification studies.

5. Personal transformation

The DevNet Specialization has practitioner requirements for Associate, Specialist and Professional level certifications. These requirements are an excellent opportunity for engineers who love to learn and grow. In the second calendar quarter of 2020, WWT has six study groups focused on the topics of several of the DevNet certifications. These groups represent the interest, excitement and passion engineers currently have for learning these new skills. The exam blueprints act as a guide for us to acquire new skills.

WWT engineers of all capacities within WWT can quickly utilize our newly acquired skills as we develop our path on the automation journey. Like our customers, we are increasing our speed and accuracy of delivering solutions using automation and programmability.

The journey for many represents an evolution; it is an evolution from a CONE to a unicorn. Ultimately, these new skills will enable us as individuals to increase our ability to succeed.

Ignited a passion

The Cisco DevNet Specialization has ignited a passion for automation and programmability within the industry and at WWT. Working towards and achieving this new Cisco Partner Specialization has helped propel our automation practice forward. 

This journey is just beginning for so many and is certainly not over for the engineers at WWT. We will continue to learn and evangelize programmability using the DevNet Specialization and certification framework.

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