As usual, Cisco Systems’ (NASDAQ:CSCO) annual partner conference was a busy, information-packed week that included new program and product announcements, as well as much guidance on the company’s road map and strategies for the coming year. The theme for this year was “impact.”
“Impact is really all about making a difference, first and foremost, about how we together can impact our customers,” said Keith Goodwin, senior vice president of Cisco’s worldwide partner organization, during his keynote speech that opened Cisco Partner Summit. “Clearly, the CEO agenda is evolving and changing. We’ve seen a shift in focus from operational excellence to innovation and differentiation.”
Here’s a look at the highlights from Cisco Partner Summit:
- Top technology themes this year were cloud, collaboration, virtualization in the data center, and video.
- Cisco is putting extra effort into targeting the small and medium business (SMB) market because, according to Goodwin, Cisco “isn’t getting its fair share” of this very large, growing market.
- Of the top 10 C-level executive spending priorities, Cisco is in eight of them.
- Cisco’s addressable market for the next few years will grow to $210 billion, according to John Chambers, Cisco’s chairman and CEO.
- There’s a shift in how sales organizations are confronting the market that will continue to evolve. The switch from point product sales to solution selling is now shifting to a focus on what Cisco calls “business architectures.”
- Video is the new voice. Chambers noted during his keynote that video will eventually represent 90 percent of the load on networks. More businesses are using video for communications, and that will continue to ramp up in the next few years. Cisco also plans to put video capabilities on all endpoint communications devices, from SIP phones to telepresence to PCs to tablets to smartphones.
- Cisco is retooling the Teaming Incentive Program (TIP) to bring its rewards in line with its Opportunity Incentive Program (OIP). The new version of TIP will launch in August.
- The next major inflection point in the industry is cloud computing, but Cisco has chosen to stay out of the business of being a cloud provider. Instead, Cisco is focusing on its core strengths – providing the underlying infrastructure that supports private clouds, and supporting partners in building clouds and developing cloud services with a new Cloud Partner Program and financial incentives.
- Investing in technology architectures and verticals will make for more business-relevant conversations with customers.
- Cisco is trying to make WebEx and telepresence more ubiquitous amongst its partner community with new programs. WebEx Everywhere and Yes! to Video offer partners deep discounts on WebEx subscriptions, as well as on EX90 and EX60 telepresence units. WebEx is now also available to partners for resale to customers.
- Partners that lead with professional services will differentiate themselves and see an increase in profitability. To enable partners to build professional services practices, Cisco announced the launch of its Collaborative Professional Services program.
- Cisco offered partners deep discounts on Quad, its enterprise social software, to get partners to get more familiar with it and start using it more.
- And finally: Any rumors regarding Cisco employees and partners drinking, smoking cigars and partying it up on Bourbon Street are all hearsay. What happens at Partner Summit stays at Partner Summit.