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Golden gates to the future

01 Jun 10

Bold goals
Following last year’s summit slogan of ‘Together we lead’, Cisco picked the tag line ‘Write the rules. Own the game.’ alluding to the company’s intention to transform transitional markets such as collaboration, video, data centre virtualisation and cloud computing. Cisco re-wrote the rules for telepresence and VoIP and now plans to do the same in the data centre and collaboration spaces. In his keynote speech, John Chambers said Cisco is a “next generation company” built on network collaboration, innovation and operational excellence. “We are going to set the pace and I’m going to dare anyone to keep up!” he said to 1800-plus Cisco partners. “This is the first time I’ve been able to say across every category we’ve got the best product,” he added.

Partner pre-eminence
As reported by The Channel, Cisco’s Edison Peres, Senior Vice President of the Worldwide Partnering Organisation’s Go-to-market Group, told the press that, “partnering is much more relevant today than in the past”. The company has launched a “comprehensive channel partner acceleration initiative” in partnership with VMware, plus the Teaming Incentive Program (TIP) to encourage early sales engagement from partners and reward them for their investment in consulting and professional services capabilities. In addition there is the Global Partner Network, which enables channel partners to collaborate to better serve multinational customers.

The auditorium was packed out on day two for Cisco’s Chief Technology Officer, Padmasree Warrior’s key note speech – a measure of the admiration and esteems she commands within the industry. Murmurs of “respect” were heard as she mounted the podium, while others referred to her as a “frightening woman”, in awe of her intellect and vision. And for the fashion-aware, she was also wearing a very nice brown and red jacket!

The new network
As part of Cisco’s 10 year strategy, the company is moving towards the network as a platform and ‘the next internet’. After realising that routers and switches can only get you so far, the platform play is bolstering the company’s selling power. The focus is now on the network that powers the new technologies and delivers video, the virtualised data centre, collaboration and cloud services.

Dazzling demos
As a wordsmith, I hate to say it, but a picture really is worth a thousand words. Delegates were blown away by the snazzy technology demonstrated live on stage in front of thousands and in the breakout sessions at closers quarters, and without one technological hitch. Fancy updating your driver’s licence via telepresence or visiting the doctor? We did both seamlessly at the Cisco summit and this could be the way of the future. And later we transferred calls between devices and video and voice without a glitch. Hats off to the demonstrators!

Jason Jennings
As the conference booklet blurb said, Jason Jennings is an authority on business leadership and a top-selling author. But it doesn’t mention his monkey anecdotes or his fear of turning up to speak and no one attending (because it has actually happened to him once), or his five rules for a company culture that breeds success, so take note:
1. Have a cause
2. Let go of yesterday’s breadwinners
3. Everyone should know the strategy
4. Everyone should think and act like an owner
5. The leaders of the greatest organisations in the world see themselves as stewards.

A bite of the Apple
And finally – after Cisco’s Senior Vice President of the Worldwide Partner Organisation Keith Goodwin had told us on day one of the conference that his new iPhone had “changed his life”, CEO John Chambers declared in a throw-away remark: “I love Apple!” That had all the journos diving for our note pads – should we be expecting an announcement soon?!

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