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The Marathon Sprint to go Digital: Are You Ready?

Every market and every industry is moving from the Information Age to the digital age, and the pace of change is happening faster than ever before. Every company, city and country is realizing they must transform to survive and thrive in this new era. I predict this race to go digital will be more like a marathon sprint; however, not everyone will make it to the finish line. Gartner predicts that only 30 percent of digitization efforts will be successful[1], with the inability to reinvent as the number one reason companies will fail in this new era.[2]

As a leader of a company that has successfully seen around corners and reinvented itself, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to win in an environment of exponential change. Here is my advice for other leaders as they move to the digital age:

Digitize and Disrupt.

Now, more than ever, you must reinvent yourself to embrace the opportunities that digitization presents. It used to take almost 20 years for a company to show commodity-like behavior, but now it only takes a matter of two to three. Spotify and Square, for instance, have disrupted music and point-of-sale respectively. These are only a couple of the innovative companies that are putting increased pressure on businesses to disrupt themselves by challenging traditional models.

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Rewarding Partner Summit 2015 Delivers New Collaboration Offers and More

Every year an incredible amount of preparation goes into my presentation and one-on-ones for Partner Summit. We had 11 or so Spark rooms of various teams coming together to make decisions about demos, graphic design, scripting, statistics, offers, and so on. Lots of hard work (made easier with Spark), but all that effort culminates in a few days that are both rewarding and inspiring. First, we got to hang out with more than 2200 of you in the lovely city of Montreal (while 6000 others tuned in virtually) and hear some great talks from our top leaders.

The second reward I got from all the weeks leading up to Summit where my team was heads down doing research and crunching numbers was gaining a buttoned-up set of facts that support the message I wanted you to walk away with – that disruption creates an opportunity to thrive. The partner trends we uncovered are compelling.

I want to make sure you have those facts and figures at your fingertips. We’ve created a Cisco Worldwide Partner Summit 2015 Collaboration Offers and Announcements page where you can find all the details on our new partner announcements and offers as well as the presentations. I think you’ll find the offers very rewarding, and if you didn’t get a chance to hear Rowan announce them on main stage and in the breakout session, you can find the recordings on the Cisco Virtual Partner Summit site.

Let’s also do a quick recap here of the three big areas you can focus on to seize that window of opportunity we talked about: Read More »

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – May 8, 2015


Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

I’m back with the Weekly Rewind after a one week absence while I covered Partner Summit and Marketing Velocity in Montreal.  Before I even get around to wrapping that up though, perhaps you’ve heard there was a big story this week…

Off the Top

Just in case you somehow missed it, on Monday, May 4, Cisco named Chuck Robbins as the next CEO, effective July 26. After 20 years of leadership, John Chambers will move into the role of Executive Chairman.

As you can imagine, we are all quite excited about this news and can’t wait to see where Chuck’s leadership will take us next. At the same time, we are so thankful to have had John as CEO for the past 20 years and I, for one, am thrilled that he’s staying on as Cisco’s Executive Chariman.

What do you think of the announcement? Join me in congratulating Chuck in the comments section below. Also be sure to follow @ChuckRobbins on twitter as he often tweets directly to Cisco Partners:

Thanks to all our partners who have reached out this week – I am so gracious! @Cisco partners are the best! @CiscoPartners

– Chuck Robbins (@ChuckRobbins)

Cisco Marketing Velocity and Partner Summit

Now back to our regularly scheduled program. I spent all of last week in Montreal covering Cisco Marketing Velocity 2015 and Cisco Partner Summit 2015. It was a busy week to be sure. With the events running in conjunction this year, there was a great deal of ground to cover. Before we even go there, how about one last fun look and what it was like to be in Montreal last week for Velocity and Partner Summit?

Hopefully, my recaps of Velocity and day one, day two and day three of Partner Summit brought you the news you needed to see, and a pretty good idea of what it felt like to be at the event this year.  You also had a chance to hear from Steve Benvenuto and Edison Peres with a couple of announcements from last week that are certainly of interest to partners. Read More »

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Identifying Cisco’s Next-Generation Leader

By Roderick C. McGeary, Cisco Board Member and Chair, Compensation and Management Development Committee, and Francine Katsoudas, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

McGeary and Katsoudas




Cisco CEO John Chambers has consistently said that the next time we would talk about CEO succession would be when a successor is announced. Today is that day, and we are proud that Chuck Robbins has been appointed Cisco’s next CEO.

Over the past 16 months, Cisco’s Compensation and Management Development Committee and Board of Directors have been focused on the succession process for one of the most dynamic, respected, and longest-tenured CEOs in the tech industry.

For almost a decade, we have led robust succession planning and leadership planning for all of our critical roles. And, as a result, since John Chambers has been CEO, we’ve managed numerous successions seamlessly, including our CFO transition last fall.

The board initiated the formal CEO succession process in January, 2014, knowing that the transition would occur at some point in the following couple of years. Early in this process, we adopted five key principles to guide our approach and decisions:

  1. Execute a transition that is thorough, strategic, well managed and, in hindsight, highly successful.
  2. Establish clear criteria that will define a successful CEO for the next decade and beyond.
  3. Assess and develop the leaders who will play key roles during the CEO transition and beyond.
  4. Lead a highly confidential process that minimizes the distractions to the business and is fair and respectful to all candidates.
  5. Given the speed of disruption in our industry, select a candidate who can both execute in the short term as well as drive a dynamic vision and strategy for the next decade.

Read More »

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Cisco Partner Summit 2015: John Chambers’ Message to Partners


As always at Cisco Partner Summit, I take the opportunity to speak with our Cisco executives throughout the week, and one of the treats of my job is having a few moments to speak with Chairman and CEO of Cisco, John Chambers.

This year, John and I took a few moments out of his busy schedule to discuss the ever-increasing pace of change in our industry. We also discussed digital disruption and how it is affecting Cisco partners, how Cisco is ready to lead in the digitization of cities, countries and companies, and what they should take away from this great event. Want to hear John’s in-depth answers to those questions and more? Check out our interview:

It’s been a great Partner Summit in Montreal. I’m heading home today, but our coverage continues next week. Stay tuned to the Cisco Partner Blog through May 8 for the entire wrap up from this year’s event.

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