Cisco: 10 Trends Worth Watching
The VAR Guy’s Top 100 Highlights from last week’s Cisco Partner Summit was a hit. But a few readers asked The VAR Guy to boil things down with a definitive Top 10 list. Naturally, The VAR Guy was happy to deliver the goods.
So here we go… The Top 10 Takeaways from last week’s Cisco Partner Summit…
10) Practicing What It Preaches: CEO John Chambers claims Cisco will save 20 percent on annual corporate travel expenses by using Cisco’s own TelePresence video conferencing technology.
9) Building Cisco’s Brand: Chief Marketing Officer Sue Bostrom noted that Cisco is the 18th ranked brand in the world… but the fifth-ranked IT brand behind Microsoft, Intel, IBM and HP. Bostrom isnâ€™t satisfied, and is working on new initiatives, including audio branding.
8 ) Investing in R&D: Cisco will invest more than $4 billion in R&D this year, according to Chief Technology Officer Charlie Giancarlo. He wants to eliminate the perception that Cisco only acquires technology. Giancarlo noted that TelePresence was developed entirely in-house.
7) Open to Open Source: One Cisco Unified Communications demo at the conference involved open source software, Windows, Mac OS X, Lotus and other video conferencing software. Cisco’s point: It’s no longer just a Windows world.
6) Going Vertical: Cisco demonstrated vertical market solutions, including next-generation video conferencing systems (so-called MediPods) for medical patients to communicate more easily with doctors.
6a) Leaving Nortel Behind?: CEO Chambers pointed to future rivals (see item 1) and doesn’t seem too worried about old competitors like Nortel and 3Com.
5) Partnering with Salesforce.com: The press largely overlooked a growing relationship with Salesforce.com that allows Cisco’s unified communications software to work with the hosted CRM system. Apparently, Cisco is finally beginning to connect with independent software providers (ISVs).
4) Small and Midsize Business Opportunities: Yes, Cisco’s big push going forward includes small and midsize business, including IP phone systems for businesses with 16 or fewer users.
3) Finding New Revenue Opportunities: Cisco managers believe solutions providers will profit from several emerging technologies, including TelePresence, video surveillance and digital signage.
2) Exploring Potential Apple Partnership: Apparently, not even CEO Chambers knows for sure if an Apple partnership is coming. He hinted that Cisco and Apple are still discussing potential ways to have iPhone support Cisco’s Unified Communications software. But ultimately, he added, Apple must decide if it wants iPhone to be an open or closed system.
1) Taking on Google, Microsoft: CEO John Chambers says Cisco will likely face four key rivals in the years ahead: Alcatel, Huawei Technologies, Google and Microsoft. Even better, he claims Cisco has a three-year lead over Microsoft.