Last week saw Cisco’s Partner Summit taking place in Dallas, Texas – a fantastic opportunity to spend time with partners, analysts, press and Cisco employees and collectively discover how we can all ‘OWN IT’ – the theme of the conference.

‘The Big D’ is a city famous for many things – it’s where the frozen margarita was invented, it’s the birthplace of convenience store, 7-Eleven, and it’s where the microchip was invented back in 1958. At that time, almost 60 years ago, such an innovation was transformational and we, too, are at a similarly pivotal juncture for technology.

Partner Summit enabled us, together with our partners, to learn more about how we can tackle the constantly evolving requirements from the market and seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

This was a theme which resonated throughout the three-day event and the optimism and energy from Cisco and from our partners was palpable.

As well as many 1:1 meetings with partners, and the main stage keynotes, we hosted an EMEAR session – attended by over 500 partners – during which we focused on four outcomes from our recent partner profitability survey.

Profitability, Predictability, Simplicity, Value

Our partners had told us that their key requirements from working with Cisco for their businesses are Profitability, Predictability, Simplicity, and, across all of these, Value Exchange.

We also learned that the most profitable partners are those who take a proactive approach to change and adapt to this massive shift that we are seeing in the market.  With this in mind, we used the session to examine how partners can achieve the outcomes they and their customers need, based around these 4 key pillars.

Digital Foundation

These areas were also amplified by our guest speakers during the session, including Tim Jennings, Chief Research Officer at analyst house, Ovum. Tim spent time outlining what customers need, as they look to build a foundation for the digital transformation of their businesses and, crucially, where they require help from Cisco and our partners.

I was also joined on stage by Edwin Paalvast, President of Cisco EMEAR, who shared some of his thoughts around the importance of data, platforms and relationships. He outlined that Cisco’s portfolio is evolving to address the changing environment, and to cope with the shift to software, services and platforms.

Why Platforms?

Building on some of the themes from that dialogue, the audience also heard from Gordon Thomson, Managing Director of Architectures for EMEAR, who explained that, as customers move to become ‘digital ready’, taking a platform approach is fundamental, which is also key to bolstering our partners’ profitability.

This was also underscored by Ed Daly, who runs our global customer success organisation.

Ed echoed some of the messages from Wendy Bahr’s main stage session and spoke about the importance of growing adoption services during this new era for networking, as a route to driving predictability for partners.

A new era

As well as a new era of networking for Cisco, it is also a new era for the partner organisation in EMEAR. We made some strategic moves earlier this year, designed to give our partners in this region more support during this transition.

Our partner organisation and the architecture and software and consumption teams have fused together, in order to bring Cisco’s specialist resources from other areas of the organisation closer to our partners. This will also enable us to scale and drive impact in the areas of program management, enablement, analytics and governance.

Own IT!

As we closed the session, I highlighted some of the tangible things we are doing to enable our partners’ success moving forward.

At a global level, we have redesigned many of our programs to align with the new way in which we, and our partners, are selling – in response to the way our customers want to consume technology. There is an increasing shift towards software, services and recurring revenue based models, so the way in which we incentivize and reward our partners is also changing to reflect this.

Having been in this industry for almost 25 years, I truly believe that we are facing the biggest transformation of our lifetime which is a fantastic opportunity for us and the partner community to OWN IT!


To view any of the Partner Summit content, including the EMEAR session, the replays and corresponding material has been posted on Sales Connect. You can also view a Facebook Live conversation from Partner Summit 2017 with one of our EMEAR partners on the Cisco Partners Facebook page.