Channel partner events, Channel chiefs, Channel partner programs, Enterprise, Networking, Networking

Live Blog: Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins


Cisco Systems CEO Chuck Robbins, Channel Chief Wendy Bahr and other key are describing the company's digital business, cloud and partner strategies at Cisco Partner Summit. Here's the minute-by-minute update...

Bahr has just taken the stage. More than 7,000 partners are attending via the virtual stream. Roughly 2,000 partners are on hand. The theme, as expected, is Full Speed. Bahr's opening statements described a family rafting trip. Riding those rapids, she noted, feels a lot like riding the current IT industry waves.

Robbins has just taken the stage. It's his 16th partner summit. He has met more than 300 partners since the previous summit earlier this year. "It's never been moving faster than it is right now. Never. It's a digital world where everything is going to be connected. It's going to happen across every industry -- at once."

Cisco Digital Ready Infrastructure

In the last 18 months, everyone around the world started moving from "what's possible" to implementation. Cisco has formalized digitization agendas with six countries with five more on the way. He mentioned a range of next-generation applications that are surfacing in retail, healthcare, government -- and the outcomes that new innovations and new efficiencies create.

A prime example: In Q1 of 2016, there were more cars connected to the mobile Internet than smartphones, he noted. By Q2, the total IoT machine-to-machine connections were greater than phones and tablets combined. "We're connecting vending machines, vehicles, POS systems, ATMS -- everything. The acceleration of the business value created from these connections is accelerating."

A few years ago, the big trend was IT budget moving to the line of business. But today, it's about alignment with corporate IT -- especially in terms of security and infrastructure quality, he said. For every one dollar customers want to spend on innovation, it will require $7 of modernizing the infrastructure, Gartner Estimates. "That's our collective opportunity," he said.

Cisco's Top Four Mandates

For Cisco there are four fundamentals to watch as the company moves forward, he said. They include:

  • Simpler
  • Intelligent
  • Automated
  • Secure

"You'll see so much focus on innovation and automation in the enterprise space and in the service provider space," he added.

After describing a range of application and data opportunities, Robbins pointed back to brand trust and Cisco's security architecture as the key differentiators. "You'll see continued investments in machine learning that navigates across private infrastructure into the cloud to end devices," he vowed.

Cisco Cloud Strategy

Robbins is moving into this topic now. Cisco currently sells between $8 billion and $10 billion in cloud-oriented offerings today. "But start at the most important place when you think of a cloud strategy -- and that would be at the customer."

Customers want to:

  • Run workloads in public clouds
  • Buy SaaS from Salesforce, Box, Office 365
  • Write modern applications that run in a private cloud
  • Buy collaboration as a service like WebEx, Spark or something you may build
  • Buy cloud services from partners in the room who have built DRaaS and more.

"There a broad array of cloud solutions customers want to navigate. It's not just about the public cloud. That's just an important part of it. But not all of it. And it all has to be done in the context of the security discussion."

"You have an opportunity to build a tremendous business around helping customers navigating the entire complex hybrid cloud journey." Robbins described Collaboration, Networking, Security, Cloud Infrastructure, IoT and other cloud offerings that already are available to partners.

Additional Chuck Robbins soundbites:

  • "We believe customers should run any app, anywhere -- security. This is your opportunity."
  • "You will see us drive more innovation in the next year than you've seen us deliver in a long time. We're gonna give you more in new innovation."
  • "If software will solve the problem we'll solve it with software."
  • "If it's a high-performance problem then let's do rich software and massively high-performance hardware. We'll do both."
  • "My heart is in this room. I worked in the partner organization from 1999 until today. Because I never left."
  • "Given the complexity of change there's never been an opportunity for you. I will do everything in my power to help us win together."

Keep checking back for live updates every few minutes.

Additional Coverage

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.