It’s hard to believe that the 17th Cisco Partner Summit is nearly in the books. It’s been a great week, both here in Boston and throughout our Virtual Partner Summit environment, and the buzz from partners has been as strong and steady as ever.
Day 1 of Partner Summit focused on Cisco’s vision, business transformation and the evolution of the channel. Day 2 covered the unique value proposition of Cisco’s technology, architectures and services. Today’s closing General Session punctuated Cisco’s stated commitment to partners, and that it’s together with partners that Cisco will become the world’s No. 1 IT company.
Today’s speaker lineup brought special guest Mark C. Thompson, CEO and co-founder of Virgil Unite Mentors, and, to close, Chuck Robbins, SVP, Worldwide Field Operations.
Throughout Partner Summit we’ve been hearing from you, our partners, about what you’re taking away from your time at the event. A few of you shared some closing thoughts with us today:
Read on for a closer look at Partner Summit Day 3.
Calls to Action
Day 3 kicked off with Business Leadership Sessions and a range of perspectives from Tim Sanders, CEO of Net Minds, Lisa Bodell, CEO of futurethink and author and business and innovation thought leader Polly LaBarre. After a busy early afternoon of meetings, the action then shifted back into General Session, where Bruce Klein, SVP of the Worldwide Partner Organization, Edison Peres, SVP of Worldwide Channels, and Chuck brought Partner Summit to a rousing close.
Author and entrepreneur Thompson, the CEO and co-founder of management consulting firm Virgin Unite Mentors, discussed how organizations innovate and why Fortune 500 companies succeed or decline. The three most admired traits in organizations are their ability to redefine winning, drive change, and be fanatical about partners. Cisco’s choice to work with an indirect sales channel turned it into a partnership powerhouse, Thompson said.
Here are some takeaways and observations from Thompson:
- People run from risk. “Here’s the dirty little secret about innovation: most organizations can’t change,” he said.
- The best companies don’t bet it all, but don’t wait to bet, either. “The big winners take a huge number of small bets,” Thompson noted.
- Partnership is a defining characteristic of successful companies. Thompson offered this quote from Teddy Roosevelt: “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
- Never assume you know someone else’s definition of success. “It keeps you profoundly on task when you have to change quickly and embrace other people’s [ideas],” he said.
- Success includes purpose, passion and performance. It’s passion that’s usually the most challenging trait, Thompson said, quoting Warren Buffett: “Putting off your passions til later is like saving up sex for old age.”
- Cisco partners have the opportunity to be part of extraordinary developments based on the potential of Cisco’s technology. “You’re the most admired people in this business. Who better than you to lead us into this world that’s already transforming lives?”
Cisco’s Commitment to Partners
Seguing into the final presentation of the event, Klein and Cisco’s executive team started by recognizing our 2013 Global Partner Award winners. Taking the stage soon after, Chuck reiterated the week’s key messages around ecosystem, evolution and innovation, and during a discussion of Cisco’s major competitors, reminded partners of John Chambers’ quote from earlier in the week: “History is littered with companies that have tried to compete with Cisco, and have lost.”
Cisco’s success is in no small part because it is stronger on partnering than any of its major competitors, Chuck said. “We want you to understand that we are absolutely committed to you, and that will not change,” he stressed. He also assured partners that they “can believe that I’ll continue to be your advocate inside Cisco.”
History, said Chuck, is a great predictor of the future. Therefore, Cisco’s proud history of predicting and meeting key market transitions, including its successes in switching, voice, video, mobility and data center – and its strength in partnering through it all — is a track record Cisco partners can stand behind. And Cisco will continue to enable partners with programs and investment.
“You prove commitment based on where you spend your money,” Chuck said, noting the $2 billion Cisco pays out in partner incentives. “As long as Cisco is growing, that number will continue to grow as well.”
In the decades since Cisco committed itself to partners, it’s gained partner DNA – partner strategy is fundamental to everything from engineering to compensation plans, Chuck said. “Everything we do, we do with you in mind.”
In closing, Chuck highlighted the city of Boston and the One Fund, which was set up following the Boston Marathon tragedy in April. Cisco bought all Partner Summit attendees Adidas’ “Boston Stands As One” T-shirt, with all proceeds going to the One Fund.
Bruce then returned to the stage for Cisco’s traditional, Partner Summit-closing give back announcement: a donation to the Boston’s Children Chorus, a local music program for underprivileged youth, who sent the day packing with a beautifully moving choral performance.
Track all of the Week’s Announcements
We’ve shared a lot of announcements with all of you this week, both in the General Sessions, and the Business Transformation sessions. To help you keep track of all the new Cisco offers you can take advantage of, we’ve posted the Executive Summary of Announcements into Partner Central so be sure to visit the site to download the document.
All this week, you’ve seen updates, perspectives and feedback from our 2013 Partner Ambassadors, who have been blogging, Tweeting, and posting to their various social channels throughout the event.
Let’s check out some of their notable blogs and Tweets:
Compugen: IT Buzz Blog
- @CompugenInc: RT @johannadelroy: @CompugenInc honoured as Cisco Western Canadian Partner of the Year
Dimension Data: http://blog.dimensiondata.com/
- @DimensionDataAP: Awesome, thanks! RT @clarencebarboza:@DimensionDataAP Congratulations. APJC Enterprise Partner of the year.#ciscops13 pic.twitter.com/WPM0Tv82t1
Fast Lane: Fast Lane MEA Facebook
- @FastLaneMEA: Big Data, the movement to the Cloud, BYOD & Mobility… great opportunities ahead! #ciscops13
Iron Bow: TechSource
- @Iron_Bow: Proud to announce that we’ve been recognized by #Cisco & received the Data Center Excellence award at #CiscoPS13!
Logicalis: Hype or Ripe Blog
Presidio: Practical Perspectives Blog
2Ring: 2Ring Blog
World Wide Technology: WWT Blog
Here’s a look at what else is buzzing on Twitter today. Search #ciscops13 and keep yourself in the conversation.
- InCompelling and I mean compelling demonstration of SDN by Cisco, it’s the future #ciscops13 (@alanryan1965)
- Live social networking dashboard measuring the pulse of the event. #ciscops13 http://t.co/A4rcBFvsrN (@mourcous)
- Such a powerful event yesterday; I’m feeling charged and inspired by my experience at #ciscops13 #TYVM (@JohnFoleyInc)
- The office has been buzzing today with the news of the Cisco Commercial Partner of the year award announcement #ciscops13 #masonIT #winning (@Mason_IG)
- #ciscops13 Doug Merritt The Internet of Things is the next Big Opportunity, how to create business models ? Time 4 next gen entrepreneurs! (@thibaudrerolle)
- #CiscoPS13 Day 1 take-aways = growth with profitability, new business models based around services, #Cisco partner-centricity & EoDB (@euroLAN)
- #ciscops13 great sessions today… Padma, Edzard, you rock…. Great to be a cisco partner (@atulbits)
- #ciscops13 in collab breakout, this guy Rowan Trollope has it figured out, what a huge relief from the standard Cisco message. Amen! (@mudbob)
- @Padmasree Hi Padma , great to meet you at the Gold Partner lunch.Took a lot from your great key note at #ciscops13. Thanks Andy #innovation (@AndyWoodkcom)
- Enjoying all the tweets from #ciscops13 this week. Some great insight. (@Nike_Computing)
- Great presentation @BruceK13. You definitely energized the audience – live and virtual. #ciscops13 (@jackiefunk)
- Great session today! @ciscodemoguy #ciscops13 (@MMBarat)
- Great sessions at #ciscops13 in Boston! Spot-on for most sessions! (@maartenvgeloven)
- Love the #CiscoPS13 buses with message to our city – “Our Hearts are with Boston.” We seriously host the best events!!! #thankyou (@BCECNav)
- Stunning view from the EMEAR party #ciscops13 #ciscopsuki13 http://t.co/Iwz0vdFlp4 (@hem123)
- Thrilled to receive 2 awards at #ciscops13 #ciscoPSuki13 for UK&I Service Partner of the Year and UK&I Collaboration Partner of the Year! (@TouchbaseUK)
- We had a great time at #ciscops13… thanks to all who were involved! @CiscoSystems (@vyopta)
- Emotional after #ciscops13video on Boston Strong as a call scheduled with Cisco made me leave Boylston St 20min before the bombing on 04/15 (@claire_souchet)
- #ciscops13 Cisco continues delight right to the very end of the conference with 2960 X demo unit (@AndrewrBentley)
- @SuccessMatters #ciscops13 big data actually saved the live of his daughter ! inspiring story by Mark C. Thompson pic.twitter.com/QeV58VJfoV (@thibaudrerolle)
- Mark Thompson, CEO/Co-founder of Virgin Unite Mentors, is an inspiration. Talking re: reaching our greatest potential. #ciscops13 (@jackiefunk)
We’re closing in on the end of our Vine and Favorite Quote contests, so make sure you get your submissions in before the end of the week. Tag your Vine posts #ciscops13 and #vinecontest, and your Favorite Quotes submissions #ciscops13 and #favequote.
Thank you for joining us throughout what’s been the most action-packed – and social! — Partner Summit yet. Make sure you check back over the next few days for more recaps, deep dive discussions of some of this week’s key conversations, and important messages from our executive team.
As Mark Thompson said at the beginning of his talk, “Nobody does a Summit like Cisco!” We’re inclined to agree.
Oh, and in case you missed it, Cisco Partner Summit 2014 is in Las Vegas, March 24-27, 2014. We’ll be back together again before you know it!