Nothing like a fantastic performance from the Soul Rebels and the Mardi Gras Indians to kick things off here at Partner Summit 2011! The band played a rousing set as partners streamed in to hear Cisco CEO John Chambers, Senior Vice President Keith Goodwin, Senior Vice President Edison Peres and COO Gary Moore address the audience.
Keith opened the event, welcoming both the in-person attendees as well as the scores attending virtually via Virtual Partner Summit. Keith remarked that at Partner Summit 2011—the 15th Partner Summit thus far—the theme is “Impact,” which is all about making a difference in how together with our partners we can impact customers, impact each other’s business, impact industry, and impact education, healthcare, and economic development. Keith also talked about Cisco’s need to simplify, and become easier to do business with for partners.
John Chambers then took the stage, revving up partners with the statistic that $170 billion of products and services are out there as an opportunity for partners, and that “market transitions wait for no one.” According to John, going forward, we need to invest in what we can do together, while also thinking about how we evolve. John also said that as we move from an information economy to a networked economy, the intelligence in the network is fueling the next generation of productivity and bringing opportunity to our partners.
John then emphasized that technology architectures represent a big opportunity and separate our partners from the competition. John finished his talk by stating that Cisco is focused on helping partners grow their top-line and bottom line.
So what did Edison Peres announce today? Read on to find out.
Edison Peres then addressed the crowd, noting that it’s critical for Cisco to learn from and engage with partners, and that feedback is essential to the Cisco-partner relationship. Edison then walked through details of changes to several popular partner programs, such as VIP, TIP and OIP. He also told partners of key priorities: Partners should choose their role in cloud, invest in architectures and verticals, and lead in professional services.
Edison then announced the Cisco Cloud Partner Program. This new program will empower partners to monetize the cloud opportunity, and will provide them with the flexibility to choose the role or roles they want to play. The three foundational roles a partner can play in the cloud opportunity are Cloud Builder, Cloud Provider, and Cloud Services Reseller.
The biggest near-term opportunity for most of our partners will be as Cloud Builders, selling “cloud-ready” infrastructure, and building the consolidated, unified and virtualized infrastructure necessary to support cloud. The Cloud Builder designation validates partners’ competency in Infrastructure, Management Applications and Cloud Professional Services. To find out more about Cisco’s plans for partners with Cloud, read the Partner Opportunities in Cloud Computing with Cisco positioning paper on Partner Central.
Rounding out the day, Cisco’s COO Gary Moore introduced the other big announcement of today, namely Collaborative Professional Services (CPS)–a portfolio of 30 business services–that combines Cisco intellectual capital, expertise and automation to help partners profitably expand or build new professional services practices.
Services are the key differentiator and profitability engine for Cisco partners, and three primary services will be offered: Assessment Services, Guidance and Development Services, and Practice Accelerators. CPS spans all major technologies in Cisco’s Borderless Networks, Collaboration and Data Center/Virtualization architectures and will expand to offer cloud builder services later this year. By leveraging Cisco engineering resources, intellectual property, proven methodologies and service automation, CPS will help qualified Cisco partners expand into new technology markets faster, and increase their services practices operational efficiency.
It was certainly an informative session, with lots more to come. Be sure to keep up with all the latest Partner Summit news by following the #ciscops11 hashtag on Twitter, visiting our Cisco Channels Facebook page, and of course, by checking back here on the Channels blog for regular posts, as well as our Partner Update broadcasts. And don’t forget to stay on top of the up-to-the-minute events by visiting Virtual Partner Summit, where you can also find replays of today’s sessions.