Last week’s Partner Summit in San Francisco took place at Full Speed! Let me start by sincerely thanking all of our attendees, partners, analysts, guests and Cisco employees for their energy, enthusiasm and engagement. It is this energy which makes me incredibly optimistic that we really can go supersonic in EMEAR in FY17, and truly own the strategy to lead the digital future for our joint customers. .

During the EMEAR session last Tuesday, our partners heard from Edwin Paalvast, EMEAR President, as he shared insights from customers into digitization, IoT, security and Cloud and, crucially, how Cisco’s portfolio is evolving to address these megatrends. Whilst  highlighting the key EMEAR priorities of core, security and software and analytics. he also explained how insights can be uncovered from previously mundane data points, to redefine, for instance, the customer retail experience. He also referenced a number of Cisco solutions – such as Meraki – which are not only supporting the increase in connections between people, but also changing lives for communities around the world.  And, all of this, with a keen eye on the undeniable need for end-to-end pervasive security, which only Cisco can provide.

Given that 43% of end customers still do not acknowledge the risks of digital disruption or have not addressed it sufficiently, the opportunity is immense. Customers must consider new business models through simplification, automation and security,  which is where Cisco’s partners play a pivotal role in supporting this journey.

Being ‘Digital Ready’ from the Core

The audience also heard from Gordon Thomson, Managing Director of Architectures for EMEAR, that as the world moves to become ‘digital ready’, the foundational infrastructure has never been more important. There is a multi-billion dollar installed-base opportunity to help customers move to an Agile Business Architecture, as they digitise their businesses. This becomes the bedrock to monetising software adoption through Cisco ONE and Meraki.

Consequently, it is vital that partners understand their customers’ desired outcomes and actively move to develop adoption and expansion practices.  Cisco is ready with training, mentoring and DNA offers, to support partners with the shift in sales behaviour in order to capitalise on this opportunity.  Further, the conversation has to move beyond IT to LoB and DevOps. The most successful partners have already adopted this as a best practice.  Only by doing this, will partners secure their place as an integral and relevant component of their customers’ strategic execution.

Pervasive Security

Of course, to realise the digital economy, pervasive security is paramount.  Adam Philpott, Director for EMEAR Cybersecurity, shared his insights into the threat landscape and our solutions, using an example of Ransomware.  Imagine, if this was your top account that was compromised, what would the impact be?

Adam explained that Cisco has a unique architectural approach, which is unmatched across the industry, where we extend security ‘off network’ with OpenDNS and Umbrella, protect endpoints with AMP, reinforce the perimeter with NGFW and AMP and leverage the network as sensor and enforcer. We also have Talos, a group of leading threat researchers supported by sophisticated systems, which creates threat intelligence for Cisco products. By defending and informing our customers on both new and ongoing threats, Talos creates a unique outreach and response process.


Finally, as part of the EMEAR session, it was also my pleasure to share the unique, industry-leading Tetration analytics platform with Rene Raeber, Cisco Distinguished Systems Engineer. This ‘home grown’ Cisco innovation brings new levels of visibility to the data center – analysing every packet, every flow, every speed in real time – to solve customers’ toughest problems when migrating or moving applications.  This new market category is accessible to all Cisco partners, supported by a compelling Cisco Capital proposition.

Going Supersonic!

It’s clear that the journey to digital has to be an evolution not a revolution.  The breadth and diversity of the partner ecosystem and joint customers is a reflection of the EMEAR region itself.  There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’.

In this VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world, where we see seismic changes in value chains and market dynamics, it is not enough to simply compete with individual firms.  Competition is between ecosystems and Cisco is 100% committed to maintaining and expanding our world-class partner ecosystem.

I truly believe ‘there has never been a better time’ for us to go supersonic. And, in case you are in any doubt, please revisit the EMEAR session on Sales Connect!