Partner Summit officially kicked off today, with partners crowding in to the General Session for the opportunity to hear from John Chambers, Chairman and CEO, Bruce Klein, SVP of the Worldwide Partner Organization, and Edison Peres, SVP of Worldwide Channels.
Today’s presentations were all about strategy and channel evolution – and how a healthy, profitable partner ecosystem is so crucially important to helping Cisco and our partners thrive and grow. 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 group of musicians from Boston’s Berklee College of Music playing various instruments, illustrating the idea that music created years ago still resonates in the sounds of today. That also tied to the idea that technology has evolved tremendously, from the development of paper, the printing press, and then the Internet, and that Cisco is uniquely positioned to help partners capture the opportunities of today.
Bruce then took the stage and introduced the theme for this year’s event: today | tomorrow| together. He noted that the theme is a call to action and a reminder to partners that “together, we’re in a perfect position to capture what’s in front of us.”
John followed Bruce onstage, telling partners, “We’re far from perfect, but we partner for life. You’re making a three, five, 10-year commitment and we must be committed to you with consistency of programs, be realistic in how we win together, and understand how to readjust ourselves in a market changing with tremendous speed.”
According to John, Cisco’s big bets are on the Internet of Everything, on being the No. 1 IT company, on working with the assumption that economic recovery will be slow and steady, on an aggressive M&A strategy, on our growing strength in the commercial/SMB/midmarket segments, and on partner services as a differentiator. Cisco won’t bow to pressure, real or imagined, from either competitors or shifting tech trends, he said. Cisco also understands that the battle for market share and customer mindshare will be fought and won in architectures, not in point products or specific segments.
“History is littered with competitors, big and small, who were going to win against Cisco and failed,” John said.
The Importance of the Partner Ecosystem
Bruce followed John, telling partners it’s time to “unleash the ecosystem effect,” to generate profitable growth.
True business solutions, Bruce said, cover hardware, software, and services, and integrate those elements in a way that creates a business outcome for customers. Cisco partners need to sell with that solutions approach and the result means increasing deal sizes by 2-7x, accelerating the sales cycle by 50 percent, increasing services margins by 35 percent, and giving Cisco and partners a better opportunity with ISVs and software solutions.
Cisco made a number of important announcements today related to the $55 billion Cisco partner opportunity in the midmarket and the expansion of Cisco’s cloud channel programs, specifically our enablement of Cloud Services Resellers. Bruce also noted that Cisco is prioritizing how to optimize channels booking neutrality and do more training for the Cisco field around partner profitability than ever before.
Closing out the morning Edison said that the biggest difference between now and other periods of historically brisk technology change is that not only is technology changing, but also business models are changing.
Rest assured that Cisco, Edison said, will continue to have a partner-centric go to market model.
“I so believe in the core value of the channel that it will remain tomorrow as it does today: You providing and being that independent, local, trusted provider of multiple vendors’ solutions. We are so dependent on that value that we will continue to work as hard as we can to navigate the many choices in front of us as well as to successfully transform your business,” he said.
Edison offered three areas of focus for channel partners evolving their business:
- Make hybrid IT a foundation of your value proposition
- Lead with solutions and professional services
- Transition your sales teams to address new buying centers
Edison noted that this transformation can be difficult. “It’s kind of like remodeling an airplane when it’s flying and there’s people on it. We know it’s not easy. But if you focus on these three areas today, you will be well on your way to a successful tomorrow,” he said.
To help partners make the transition, Edison announced a Cloud Business Transformation Playbook that provides a blueprint for partners transitioning their business from a product reseller model to include annuity-based cloud revenue. He also announced three new individual Business Transformation Certifications that will evolve the role of partners from product selling to a consultative solutions and services approach.
And for those partners still trying to figure out if services and cloud and other IT paradigm shifts are for real?
“Don’t sit on the sidelines,” Edison said. “Get in the game.”
Follow Our Ambassadors
Our 2013 Cisco Partner Ambassadors are sharing their impressions throughout Partner Summit. Check out an organized list of their Twitter handles here and a summary of where to find all of their specific content here.
Compugen: IT Buzz Blog
Dimension Data: DataNow
Fast Lane: Fast Lane MEA Facebook
Iron Bow: TechSource
Logicalis: Hype or Ripe Blog
Presidio: Practical Perspectives Blog
2Ring: 2Ring Blog
World Wide Technology: WWT Blog
Here’s a look at some of what’s buzzing on Twitter today. Remember to tag everything #ciscops13 so we can find you!
- Great keynote from John Chambers at #ciscops13 “We partner for life, we are old fashioned that way” @2RING4UC
- Nice to hear great focus on mid market from Cisco at #CiscoPS13 #Cisco @CONNECT_EXPRESS
- New offer for our partners to help enable them for new business models. Thanks Edison!! #ciscops13 @dchesky
- Fantastic start of the Partner Summit, John Chambers is great *eva* #ciscops13 @fastlanemea
Get In The Game
Your partner peers are entering submissions for our Vine and Favorite Quote contests and we’ve already seen some great submissions. For Vine, remember to tag your posts #ciscops13 and #vinecontest. For Favorite Quotes – general sessions or breakout sessions – remember to tag using #ciscops13 and #favequote.
We’re looking forward to lots more information that will be shared tomorrow, in the General Session, as well as in the Business Transformation breakouts. It’s been a great kick-off today!