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Cisco Partner Summit Day 1: The Ecosystem Advantage

March 25, 2014
at 8:15 pm PST

Away we go! Cisco Partner Summit officially kicked off today in Las Vegas. After weeks of anticipation, thousands of partners are getting the latest updates from Cisco here at the event, or via Virtual Partner Summit (VPS).

Partners entered the general session this morning to hear from John Chambers, Chairman and CEO, Bruce Klein, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Partner Organization, and Edison Peres, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Channels.

Today’s presentations were all about strategy and how Cisco’s growing Partner Ecosystem will help both Cisco and its partners thrive. We got the chance to catch up with partners to hear their perspectives on today’s General Session. Here’s what they had to say:

Read on for a full recap of today’s General Session.

The event opened with a montage of partners faces on screen and Bruce running onto stage in full “rat pack” garb to welcome partners to the 18th annual Cisco Partner Summit. With more than 2,000 partners in the room and more than 5,000 partners participating via VPS, we can all be “Amazing Together” which is the theme for this year’s event.

Bruce went on to point out that Las Vegas is home of 12 of the 20 largest hotels in the world. There are amazing venues around the world but Las Vegas is a unique place. There may be many stars in Las Vegas, but for the next few days, partners are the stars and Bruce assured them that by the end of this week the best bet they would make would be continuing to bet on Cisco.

John followed Bruce onto the stage and said, “It was about 20 years ago when we decided to not go direct like all of our competitors. We went with our partners and it has been a great decision. The best decision.”

According to John, Cisco has to change more in one year than it has in the previous three years, and partners have to do the same. He added, “Change is not comfortable, so I need you to be a little uncomfortable this week.”

John committed that Cisco would remain partner-centric, focused on technology and business innovation; the ability to drive demand and create new markets, partner profitability, and partner enablement.

The Internet of Everything (IoE), which Cisco has identified as a 19 trillion dollar opportunity, has hit an inflection point and change within the IT world is moving at an unprecedented pace. John assured partners that even though the pace of change has intensified, Cisco is still able to “see around the corner” and catch those market transitions that will allow partners to grow and remain profitable if they are willing to change with Cisco.

“We have to change together so that we do not get left behind. Our ability to make this change together requires courage,” John said.

Cisco Partner Ecosystem

Bruce returned to the stage to speak to partners about how Cisco will help partners seize IoE opportunities and embrace related market transitions like cloud with an evolved partner program -- the Cisco Partner Ecosystem. The program, which includes Cisco’s existing channel program and its services program, is designed to attract a much broader set of partners, like Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), technology and Internet of Things partners as well as consulting firms.

Solution Partner Program

Bruce also spoke about the launch of the Solution Partner Program, which is a core component of the Cisco Partner Ecosystem. The Solution Partner Program attracts solution partners into the ecosystem and potentially thousands of new solutions. The Solution Partner Program has several components and you can see the full details on both the Solution Partner Program and the Cisco Partner Ecosystem as a whole on Bruce’s blog from earlier today.

Before handing the finale of today’s general session over to Edison, Bruce said, “We need to catch this wave together, in order to create this Cisco Partner Ecosystem advantage. Let’s create our future together. Let’s be Amazing Together.”

Channel Partner Program Evolution

Closing out the morning, Edison took the stage to discuss the evolution of the channel partner programs.

Edison explained that the next generation channel partner program will enable and reward partners for adopting new consumption models and reaching new buying centers, with an emphasis on solutions, hybrid IT, and architectures. Channel partners will see changes across certifications, specializations and incentives and will have 16-24 months to transition to the new requirements. Full details on the next generation channel partner program are available in Edison’s post on the Channels Blog.

“We want to enable the partner of the future. That partner has a strong hybrid IT model and is effective in selling to lines of business, expanding services and adding solutions to the mix,” Edison said. He also added, “One thing that is not changing is that the channel partner program is about value and not volume.”

Follow Our Partner Ambassadors         

Our 2014 Cisco Partner Ambassadors are sharing their impressions throughout Cisco Partner Summit. Subscribe to this Twitter list to follow them and get a summary of their content.

Social Conversations

Here’s a look at some of what’s buzzing on Twitter today. Remember to tag everything #ciscops14 so we can find you!

  • @JENSBUTLER: IoE at inflection point … customer interest going through the roof #ciscops14
  • @PHILCALZ: Cisco retiring silver brand! That’s a good move cisco. #ciscops14 http://t.co/38MMEMJHlu
  • @SEANDENOMEY: Happy to see continued focus on simplifying the partner engagement model! #yam #ciscops14 http://t.co/205V3JmAYs

For a full look at the social conversation at Cisco Partner Summit 2014, check out the Social Media Dashboard!

Get In The Game

We are already seeing some great entries in our Cisco Partner Summit Social Media Contests. For Favorite Quotes – general sessions or breakout sessions – remember to tag using #ciscops14 and #favequote. For Leaderboard – remember to tag using #ciscops14 during the contest period!

We’re looking forward to a lot more information that will be shared tomorrow, in the general session, as well as in the Business Transformation sessions. It’s been a great kick-off today!

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