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Cisco’s annual Partner Summit winds down in Boston today but there’s one more event attendees have to look forward to this afternoon: Cisco’s longtime CEO John Chambers’ keynote. Channel Insider asked select Cisco solution providers to share their thoughts on what they’d like to hear from the big man himself about how Cisco will move forward in 2009.

Here’s what they had to say:

Pat Scheckel, vice president, CDW, says aside from updates on Cisco’s bread-and-butter security and networking infrastructure products, he’s interested to hear more about Cisco’s entry into the data center and server space.

“We are interested in any news around the further evolution of their data center portfolio, especially with their UCS [Unified Computing System]. We’ve already closed a few deals that integrate UCS and are getting ready to deploy the solutions, so any new information or incentives surrounding the UCS will be welcomed.”

Wendy Lucas, vice president of sales, Dimension Data Canada, says her company’s main focus is on boosting sales internationally with the help of Cisco programs and incentives.

“Dimension Data is a Cisco Global Services Alliance (GSA) partner, so I’d like to learn about any enhanced support that Cisco plans to provide its GSA members, particularly in terms of investments and sales support. I’d also like to hear how Cisco is leveraging its partner relationships to gain an advantage over competitors,” Lucas told Channel Insider.

Lucas says she’s also interested in understanding technology areas where Cisco will make strong investments and commitments.
“Overall, I’d like to walk away from the Summit with a solid understanding on Cisco’s ‘big bets’ and key verticals for the coming year.”

Stephen Moss, COO NSPI, says he’s hoping Cisco will detail more fully how it plans to integrate any upcoming technology or corporate acquisitions, something that the company has struggled to do in the past.

“Cisco has struggled to fully integrate products and services acquisitions into its portfolio. It started with the LinkSys acquisition, and while it sounded good at the time to keep them as a separate entity, it ended up creating conflict between product teams and solution providers competing with each other,” he says. Moss also says that he’s pleased to hear a ‘unifed Cisco’ message being delivered at the summit so far, and hopes that strategy will continue.

“I’m interested to hear their product strategies, how they are moving forward with plans to be a more unified Cisco, rather than operate different product groups. So far, that’s the message we’ve been hearing, and I hope we hear that again from Chambers [today],” he says.