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Cisco Partner Summit Day 1: Being Bold

April 28, 2015 - 5 Comments


It was a packed house this morning at the Palais de congrès de Montreal as Bruce Klein kicked off Cisco Partner Summit 2015. It has been a full day of announcements and breakout session, so as always, take a look at our recap video to get a taste of what today was like in Canada.

John Chambers

Being Bold is what this year’s Partner Summit is all about and when Bruce welcomed John to the stage, John wasted no time in announcing that Cisco is going to be bolder than ever.

“There is a transformation that’s going to digitize governments, companies and countries. Cisco has the ability to lead here. I truly think this next year is an inflection point where every company starts to become a digital company. If companies don’t change, they are going to be left behind, because either you disrupt, or you’re going to get disrupted,” John said.

At last year’s Partner Summit, John mentioned that the pace of change is exponential. This year he pointed out that it’s only getting faster. In fact, according to a Fast Company statistic he shared on stage, in 10 years it is predicted that 40 percent of Enterprise companies will no longer exist.

John went on to say that CEOs today are under more pressure than ever before. With the exponential pace of change, they have to accept that their companies will change, but moving to a completely digital company will change the face of their companies. In all likelihood, it will result in a complete reorganization of their workforce and a change in a lot of their leadership in order to move forward and keep pace.

John mentioned that companies tend to succeed or fail based on a couple of key things:

  • Market Transitions – You can’t afford to miss a single one
  • Right thing too long – Doing the right thing in business too long will eventually lose you money. (i.e. you’ll get disrupted)
  • Reinvent – It is hard to reinvent yourself and no one really loves to do it, but you have to do it. Otherwise you will miss those coming transitions
  • Customer/Partner Driven – You have to do the first three things right in order to keep pleasing your customers/partners

John pointed out that government leaders understand the transformation that is occurring. We are all in the sweet spot of where these transitions are happening. Cisco and its partners are poised to take advantage of the changes, but John said you have to ask yourself, “Are you positioned to deliver the outcomes our customers want, or are you still selling the way you always have?”

John is convinced that every business, city and country will become digital, not over the course of the next 20 years, but much faster. He predicted you’ll see that change happen within the next five to 10 years. We are already seeing some of these changes happen.

To back up some of these thoughts, John brought CEO of Rockwell Automation, Keith Nosbusch onto the stage with him. They discussed how Rockwell is already more of a technology company than a manufacturing company and how in the near future it would become a truly digital company.

“First we are definitely a technology company and have been for a few years now but we’re not yet a digital company. We are in the middle innings there and quite frankly need to pick up the pace,” Keith said.

That definitely backed up John’s point of needing to stay on top of the changes. Even though Rockwell is ahead of the game by most accounts, its CEO understands that if they don’t pick up the pace even more, they run the risk of being left behind.

John did point out that if anyone in the world was going to be able to keep with how fast things are changing, and be successful, it would be Cisco partners.

Bruce Klein
Bruce returned to the stage and pointed out how disruption is definitely changing all industries. He used Netflix as an example. Netflix disrupted Blockbuster’s model, and Blockbuster ended up being left behind because they missed a market transition. Netflix didn’t just keep doing the right thing for too long though. Instead they kept innovating and they kept changing. They started streaming video. They embedded their app into televisions. They are now even producing their own content.

We have to evolve and catch these market transitions together. Cisco will create programs to help partners capture those transitions.

Before talking about this year’s announcements, Bruce provided updates about a few of the items discussed at Partner Summit 2014.

Last year, Bruce talked about recruiting new solution partners and ISVs to the Cisco Partner Ecosystem. He announced today that Cisco now has more than 800 partners in the Solution Partner Program. You can find those partners in the Cisco Marketplace under the Solution Showcase. The site is also being re-organized by verticals and by solutions to make it even easier to find companies to partner with.

Bruce then made some announcements for this year’s Partner Summit, You can get an overall look at Bruce’s announcements in his blog from this morning. One of Bruce’s announcements was around the Cisco Software Partner Program, which introduced three new roles for partners:

Another announcement was on the Cisco Cloud and Managed Services Program. You can find much more in depth information on both of those announcements in Steve Benvenuto’s blog on our Partner Blog.

Bruce’s actions for partners are to act now and:

  • Use the Cisco Marketplace to connect
  • Take advantage of new hybrid IT offers
  • Build a Cisco software practice

Bruce wrapped up the morning session before releasing everyone to their breakout sessions by reinforcing that Cisco will continue to be listen to its partners. He encouraged everyone to take advantage of the interaction with each other this week, and then go BE BOLD.

Follow Our Marketing Velocity and Partner Social Ambassadors         

Our 2015 Cisco Partner Ambassadors are sharing their impressions throughout Cisco Marketing Velocity and Partner Summit this year. Be sure to check out our full recap of Marketing Velocity from yesterday. The entire list of ambassadors is highlighted in the Marketing Velocity recap. The list below highlights some of the recent blogs from our social ambassadors.

Social Conversations

Here’s a look at some of what’s buzzing on Twitter today. Remember to tag everything #ciscops15 so we can find you!

  • @XDeVynck– In Montreal for #CiscoPS15 – great vibes, great speakers and good meetings. Be Bold is the very appropriate slogan.
  • @Matt_Innovise – What a start to the Virtual Partner Summit! Completely forgot about the day job! Same thing happened last year! Bring on the rest!
  • @mrtukur  – We are compelled to build more software skills to target ISV and LoB

For a full look at the social conversation at Cisco Partner Summit 2015, check out the Social Media Dashboard!

Wrapping up and heading out

The day has come to a close and there is still a great deal of buzz about “Being Bold.” Stay tuned this week for more in-depth coverage of Cisco Partner Summit 2015. I will make sure you don’t miss any key announcements. If you have any specific coverage requests or just general feedback, be sure to let me know in the comments section.

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  1. Tracey, those are excellent points and one of the things that John touched on all week. The pace of change is simply getting faster and faster, and none of us can afford to be left behind.

  2. I believe Cisco leadership's stated time horizons of 3-5 years in many of the Virtual Partner Summit sessions I've watched may be too long. AirBnB (2008) Uber(2009) etc have made massive indistruy disruptions in the last 2 years. 3 year plans to respond to such disruption are too long. My other comment relates to scale. As we load more business models and more complex models, such as IoE ecosystems on our partners, I believe we need to make the base business/technology operations easier. Partners need to free up human capacity to invest in new businesses. Few have the scale to add more people to enter new arenas.

  3. Chambers delivers again in Psrtner Summit 2015

  4. Thanks Murilo. We couldn't agree more!

  5. "Netflix disrupted Blockbuster’s model, and Blockbuster ended up being left behind because they missed a market transition" Indeed you need to be bold. Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.