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20th Annual XChange Conference Kicks Off in DC

August 10, 2015 - 0 Comments
Gaylord Harbor

One of the many views from the Gaylord National Convention Center, home to the annual XChange Conference for 2015.

I made it into DC yesterday, one day later than intended but happy to take a plane and not make the admittedly short drive from North Carolina. It’s great to be back with The Channel Company for the annual XChange Conference this week.  XChange brings together influential technology vendors, solution provider executives and industry analysts for a three day event each summer.

Each XChange Conference provides valuable insight and advice on what is needed to adapt and succeed in today’s marketplace.  This event is also where the CRN Annual Report Card (ARC) awards are announced each year. Fun side note: This event is also the first one I ever covered as a blogger for Cisco two years ago!

I enjoy these events a great deal because it provides me with an opportunity to meet with Cisco partners in person. I don’t always get a chance to sit down with our partners face to face and it’s always great to catch up and hear what’s important to their business as we move through the year. Much like everyone else at Cisco, I understand that Cisco partner success is Cisco success.

Oddly enough, these events are often a great way for me to meet folks from Cisco who I have worked with but never met. That was the case this week as Cisco’s Peder Ulander, VP, Cloud and Managed Services Partner Organization delivered an opening keynote speech on how to open new doors as a partner.

Peder Presentation

Peder Ulander, VP, Cloud and Managed Services Partner Organization presents at XChange 2015.

Peder clearly showed how disruption in various marketplaces is changing businesses across the board. The world is changing fast and it’s only getting faster. Customers are looking to our partners on how to make those transitions, and our partners need to be prepared to step and lead those transitions.  If you don’t move with the transitions, you’ll end up in a “digital vortex” that sweeps you right out of play.

Cisco offers end-to-end solutions that help our partners move customers through the transitions. With everything in the world becoming connected, partners are becoming software shops that are key to keeping customers viable.

Most importantly, Peder spoke about how each and every partner has a role within the Cisco Partner Ecosystem. Our business model is still partner-centric and it will remain that way whether or not partners are consultants, resellers, distributors, etc.

At heart, the Cisco strategy is different and Peder hammered that home by pointing out that Cisco’s partner-centric strategy enables our partners to differentiate themselves. It also focuses on business outcomes that customers are seeking and Cisco is constantly working to prepare customers to seize all the opportunities available within the Internet of Everything (IoE).

For me personally, it was great to see Peder deliver an important message to partners about how they can participate in Cisco’s cloud strategy, but it was just as important to me to be able to sit down with Peder and talk about the business, our partners and life in general. As I mentioned, in today’s corporate environment I often work closely with many people without ever meeting them in person so it was fantastic to be able to sit down and pick Peder’s brain for a few hours!

Reception Line

Attendees of the XChange Conference opening reception.

Peder finished up and we all moved to breakout sessions before wrapping up day one with a reception. It was certainly a great way to kick off the event and I’m looking forward to the rest of today and tomorrow. In fact, I’m off to grab a few more photos, take a few more notes and meet a few more Cisco partners.

If you’re here in DC, let me know in the comments section and we can try to catch up over a cup of coffee. I hope those of you here enjoyed Peder’s presentation. Let me know what you think in the comments section. If you’re not here this week, just let me know and I’ll point you in the right direction for the information from Peder.

In the meantime, I’ll grab some more photos and notes from the sessions to keep you all up to speed on what’s going on here in DC.

More to come this week!

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