The Cisco Global Partner Summit 2014 is being held in Las Vegas this week from March 25th through 27th. I had the opportunity to attend Tuesday’s general session…almost 2,000 miles away from the comfort of my office.
Cisco has creatively established a new communication channel to get their strategic and channel program messages out to the global Partner community via the Cisco Virtual Partner Summit. This virtual entry to the sessions provided an experience like you were actually at the conference. The chat tool created an interactive engagement with the virtual audience. Cisco definitely hit a “Home Run” with the Virtual Partner Summit.
John Chambers kicked-off the general session by speaking about “Change”…the speed that businesses, Cisco and Partners needed to change to stay competitive and relevant to clients. He used the phrase “Pace of Change2”. This topic really resonated with me. I believe that Chambers was spot-on with these statements. None of us can become comfortable with our existing business models and will need to evolve in order to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace and survive. Chambers continued to talk about how uncomfortable change can make people feel, but was necessary. All levels within an organization needs to embrace change and not accept the status quo. Change needs to be viewed as a catalyst for new business opportunities and not as a business disruptor. By incorporating change into a company’s cultural fabric will surely increase the longevity of a business.
In the infrastructure Solution Provider (SP) space, we must work to align our solutions to applications and business results. As Chambers stated…”We’re in an application driven economy”. SPs must create architectures that solve business problems and be early to the game and not just be an after-thought after the business decision has been made. Recommending solutions that provides a lower TCO and accelerates a client’s business will increase the value of the SP and differentiate them in the marketplace. SPs have had tremendous success in the past selling point products, but Sales teams must expand their relationships within their client base to include business owners. SPs must also grow their partner eco-system to provide customers with comprehensive solutions.
I believe that Cisco’s strategy around the Internet-Of-Everything (IOE), Internet-Of-Things (IOT) and Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is a great strategic transition for Cisco. Cisco has historically taken an infrastructure approach, but is now turning things upside down and taking an application based approach. They see the relevance of moving higher-up in the stack and are looking help its clients evolve and produce real business outcomes.