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Cisco Partner Summit Day 2: Simplicity, Flexibility, Agility

While Day 1 of Partner Summit was all about Cisco’s vision for the future, the partner ecosystem, and partner evolution, today the focus shifted toward technology and services. Day 2’s General Session brought to the stage Padmasree Warrior, Chief Strategy and Technology Officer, Rob Lloyd, President, Development and Sales, and Edzard Overbeek, Senior Vice President, Cisco Services, to talk through Cisco’s innovation and technology, our unique value proposition for customers, and why building a robust services practice around Cisco sales is key to partner profitability.

Partner impressions are some of the most valuable feedback we have here at Cisco. Like yesterday, we took to the halls of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center to get your perspectives. Here’s what you told us:

Read on for a full recap of Partner Summit Day 2. 

Padma offered a deep dive on Cisco’s technology strategy based on the idea that the Internet is shifting into its fourth major stage: the Internet of Everything. Years ago, use of the Internet was all about connectivity, with e-mail as the killer app. The second stage saw the networked economy, in which e-commerce became the killer app, Padma said, and the third stage brought immersive experiences that are above all social connections. The shift toward IoE, however, means pervasive IP in every aspect of lives, and connections between not just things, but between people, processes, data and things.

With the movement from a web-based economy to an app-based economy, in which customers seek business outcomes from the IT they’ve invested in, Cisco and its partners can create value in three major areas, according to Padma. The infrastructure layer, the platform layer and the application layer are all areas where innovation is occurring at rapid pace, and services – particularly what partners can provide using the ecosystem approach Bruce Klein mentioned on Day 1 – permeate across those layers.

As IT spending shifts into lines of business, customers will measure value in outcomes, above all, Padma said. And as Cisco seeks to increase its business relevance to applications and services, a robust partner ecosystem will be critical to building value, from ISVs to platform and managed services.

With all the industry hype around software-defined networking (SDN), Padma said it’s the role of Cisco and its partners to “clarify and explain to customers how the network of the future must transition to deliver better value.”

“SDN addresses only a portion of the requirements our customers need,” she said, adding that merely “virtualizing” the network doesn’t necessarily help customers program and provision networks efficiently. Watch for increased emphasis on Cisco’s Open Network Environment (ONE); Cisco will make significant announcements around network programmability over the next seven months, Padma said.

Padma summed it up: Cisco will continue to provide and unify architecture-based solutions to provide the simplicity, flexibility and agility customers expect from us.

‘We Are Going To Step Up’

Rob’s discussion focused on Cisco’s unique value proposition to customers and how Cisco is the vendor best-equipped to handle all of the significant transitions around mobility, video, cloud, applications, big data, analytics and the Internet of Everything.

Customers are intimidated by so much change, Rob said, and are turning to Cisco and its partners not just to build and maintain networks, but also to sort out all these transitions and help them make the right choices.

What Cisco brings to bear is the industry’s most comprehensive solutions portfolio: hardware, software and ASICs, the widest range of options for physical and virtual environments, and a span across networking and computing technologies. As Rob noted, it’s trendy to talk about SDN for how it’s disrupting traditional networking technologies, but “if you think SDN will commoditize hardware, it’s absolutely a load of…fibs.”

Cisco ONE is unlike other so-called SDN approaches, Rob explained, because it covers the entire network, not just the data center. And Cisco partners add their value to the ONE approach through professional services, working with APIs, and refreshing data center and campus infrastructure.

“Stay tuned, folks,” Rob said. “It’s going to be a ride. And we are going to lead.”

Rob also called out the significant updates Cisco announced this week for the Catalyst switching portfolio. Read all about the new Cat 2960-X and other updates.

Overall, said Rob, Cisco will continue  to win against competitors who have “mortgaged their future to keep the lights on,” and continue to capture major market share in collaboration, the data center and all of the places Cisco innovates.

“We are going to step up,” Rob said. “We are going to bring innovation to this market. We are going to do whatever it takes to win in this space, and I mean, whatever it takes. We are going to do it together.”

The Power of Services

Edzard was the third speaker, and he immediately reiterated what CEO John Chambers mentioned yesterday: for every dollar of Cisco product sold, services can generate $3-$7 dollars, dramatically increasing the size of a deal.

Cisco’s services programs, including the Cisco Services Partner Program announced at the 2012 Partner Summit, have grown leaps and bounds. CSPP alone now has participating from 50,000 partners globally, from 140 countries, with $200 million paid out in services rebates, Edzard said.

What’s in front of Cisco and its partners now is the opportunity to build enormous services capabilities into the technology and strategic frameworks Padma and Rob described. Consulting services, industry services, platform and analytics services, professional services and technical services together present a roughly $162 billion addressable market, Edzard explained.

To help partners adopt and implement Smart capabilities, Cisco is launching a Smart Acceleration Promotion for six months, starting in Q1 FY14. The promotion includes a market development fund (MDF) and a rebate incentive under the CSPP.

Many of Cisco’s acquisitions are also about building capabilities into our services and automation platforms, Edzard said, noting Cisco’s planned acquisition ofJouleX among recent examples. Energy is one of the largest unmanaged costs in an enterprise P&L, Edzard noted, and with the capabilities JouleX provides, is an area in which Cisco and its partners can triumph at scale.

Edzard closed his session telling partners, “We can do something which is unique in the industry.

If we do this, we do this together, you and us are unbeatable.”

Business Transformation Sessions

This afternoon, partners also got the opportunity to hear more details around Cisco architectures and focus areas, such as cloud, SDN, and ISVs. Here’s some of the soundbites from Day 2’s Business Transformation sessions:

“When working with ISVs, partners increased deal size by 2-7x. And increased service margins by 35%.”  -- Denny Trevett, Vice President, ISV & Ecosystem Partners, Cisco

“60% of partners globally have earned a reward using Cisco programs.” – Steve Benvenuto, Sr. Director Cisco Strategy, Planning and Partner Programs

“Cisco continues to innovate in collaboration – both in terms of product development and programs to ensure partner success.” – Richard McLeod, Senior Director, Worldwide Collaboration Channel Sales

“Think about cloud at the architecture level and not just the compute or storage level. It’s more pervasive than that, and the customer is looking for a longer-term vision for their strategy. If we don’t give it to them, they will go to the competition.” -- Jeff Spagnola, Vice President, Global Cloud Go-to-Market

“As a company, we stand out in the Partner Led space, we’re making significant investments to stand beside you, to help you win in this market.” – Andrew Sage, VP WW Partner Led

“With Meraki products, we’ve focused on ease of use and ease of deployment, for partners and customers.” – Sanjit Biswas, VP and General Manager, Cloud Networking Group

“We need you to continue to sell what’s on the truck—drive our value together, so that you can position your value on top of that. We’ll be able to provide investment protection, as your customers go through this journey.” — Dave West, Chief Technology Officer

Follow Our Ambassadors          

Check out all the fine work of our 2013 Partner Ambassadors, who are sharing their impressions throughout Partner Summit. All of their Twitter handles are collected here and a summary of where to find all of their specific content is here.

Here’s where to find their updates, along with some samples of what they’ve shared already:

Compugen: IT Buzz Blog

Comstor: Comstor Blog and Cisco Partner Summit 2013 Blog

Dimension Data: DataNow

  • @jackiefunk: Cisco’s most popular switch just got twice as fast. Announcing the 2960-X -- Rob Lloyd #favequote #ciscops13

Fast Lane: Fast Lane MEA Facebook

  • @FastLaneMEA: Simplicity is the new perfection..how true #ciscops13

Iron Bow: TechSource

Logicalis: Hype or Ripe Blog

Presidio: Practical Perspectives Blog

2Ring: 2Ring Blog

Varrow: A.J. Ragosta’s Blog and Varrow Blogs

World Wide Technology: WWT Blog

Social Conversations

Here’s a look at some of what’s buzzing on Twitter today. Search hashtag #ciscops13 and check out what your peers are saying!

    • @Padmasree Great presentation. Cheers! We should set up Rob Lloyd a Twitter account!  #ciscops13 (@MMBarat)
    • Another exciting day at #Cisco partner summit. Great content yesterday. (@AbbyFavali)
    • Companies find data the most valuable! @wybahr You gotta love the data! They speak out loud #ciscops13 (@MMBarat)
    • Exciting news! RT @jackiefunk Rob Lloyd just announced the next 2960-X switch at #ciscops13. Says it’s the “greatest switch ever. (@2Ring4UC)
    • I haven’t seen this many tweets even at the #ciscosmt @socialsavvy #ciscops13 (@MMBarat)
    • Completely brilliant talks by @hinssen and @nadiabilchik at #ciscops13 (@IdealNetworks)
    • @Padmasree Padma thank you. Great presentation. Creates a lot of opportunity for us to work together in a new and better way. #ciscops13 (@DomDuval)
    • Check it out, we’re loving the #ciscops13 in Boston! @CiscoSystems @CiscoCollab http://t.co/Uhrp9xZnrj (@vyopta)
    • Love the way @Padmasree can take the complex and make it simple and tie the business outcomes for customers #ciscops13 (@klampard)

And in case you missed it, Cisco handed out its 2013 Global Partner Awards in a ceremony at Partner Summit last night. Here’s a look at the top winners.

Your Turn To Play

There’s still plenty of time to submit to our Vine and Favorite Quote contests. Remember to tag your Vine posts #ciscops13 and #vinecontes, and your Favorite Quotes submissions #ciscops13 and #favequote.

It’s been another action-packed day at Partner Summit. We’ve heard a lot of great information and heard important feedback from partners, and there’s still one more day to go. Leave a comment below and let us know how your Partner Summit’s been so far.

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1 Comments.


  1. June 6, 2013 at 12:25 am

    Thanks Chad! Great insight again. It is kind of sad realizing that today is the last day of this year Cisco’s partner summit! #gladtobehere

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