Top 100 Cisco Partner Summit Highlights (20-1)
And now our top 20. Most of these entries were culled from a press Q&A and a keynote featuring Cisco CEO John Chambers.
Items 40-21: Click here
20) Opportunity Is Coming to Cisco Partners: According to Chambers, there’s never been a better time to be in the networking industry–and to partner with Cisco–because of all the inflection points coming together. Voice, data, video and collaboration among consumers and businesses … those opportunities make Chambers bullish. It’s hard for The VAR Guy to argue with him. But for Cisco to take on Microsoft, the company will need more ISVs who have network-centric priorities rather than desktop- or server-centric concepts.
19) Vision, Strategy, Execution: Those are the three most important factors for Cisco–and its partners–to achieve success, Chambers asserted. During a recent phone interview, an Oracle VP told The VAR Guy that no company executes better than Cisco.
18) Write Your Roadmap: Have three- to five-year strategies and single-year plans to meet incremental goals. Don’t manage on a quarter-by-quarter basis. A prime example from The VAR Guy: TelePresence has been under development for several years and finally made a huge splash at this year’s event.
17) Outsource Your Weaknesses: Get your partners to do what you don’t do well and … yada, yada, yada … we magically jump from 17 to 13 because The VAR Guy has a flight to catch.
13) Remain Open to Debate: Chambers says healthy debate about where the market is going often helps Cisco to adjust its strategies five percent left or right and, ultimately, keeps the company on course. One example: Chambers didn’t believe Web 2.0 would catch on so soon but he was convinced otherwise.
12) Goodbye Nortel?: During his closing keynote, Chambers didn’t list Nortel as a big rival going forward. Item #3 below reveals who Cisco will likely battle in the years ahead.
11) Talent Search: Pay close attention to this one, folks. This was a big theme toward the end of the conference. The VAR Guy has learned that this may become a huge focus for Cisco during the next few months. In fact, Cisco is preparing to help VARs with basic employee recruitment, retention, job description and HR issues. The VAR Guy guarantees it.
10) Fab Four Emerging Technologies: Cisco executives pointed to TelePresence, video surveillance, IPCCS and digital signage as the next four big opportunities for VARs.
9) Deal or No Deal?: Chambers likes his chances in the unified communications market because many of his weaker rivals have, over the years, asked Cisco to buy them out.
8 ) Missed Opportunities: Always hyper-critical of his company, Chambers said Cisco’s VoIP business could have been even bigger by now–had the company focused on business processes earlier in the game.
7) Celebrate Small Business: The big opportunity for Cisco going forward. Just about every big announcement at the event focused on small business solutions and managed services.
6) Stop the Cisco vs. Linksys Debate: CEO Chambers says he’s not very worried about small business product overlap between Cisco and the Linksys subsidiary. “We’ve got 17 percent market share there,” he said. Cisco’s managers can call him with their overlap concerns when the company has 40 percent market share in SMB, he quipped.
5) Apple Partnership Coming?: Chambers won’t say for sure. He hinted that Cisco and Apple are still discussing potential ways to have iPhone support unified communications. But ultimately, he added, Apple must decide if it wants iPhone to be an open or closed system.
4) Microsoft Is the Underdog?: Chambers says Cisco has a 3-year lead over Microsoft in Unified Communications. And, he notes, Cisco has never lost such a large lead. Check back in 2010 to see if Microsoft has pulled even…
3) Big Four Rivals: Chambers say Google, Microsoft, Alcatel and Huawei Technologies could emerge as the company’s top four rivals in the years ahead. The VAR Guy wonders: Was Chambers serious or simply trying to align Cisco’s fortunes with Google’s fortunes? Was this showmanship or a wake-up call for Google CEO Eric Schmidt? Perhaps a little of both, The VAR Guy thinks.
2) Cisco 3.0: Expect to hear much more about this from Cisco in the months ahead. The strategy involves being customer driven, ensuring quality and strengthening customer partnerships.
1) Lucky Number 13?: Cisco is No. 1 in roughly a dozen markets now, from switching to WiFi to IP phones. Chambers and the rest of the Cisco executive team thanked partners over and over again for this success. Where will Cisco be No. 1 next? Four potential bets: TelePresence, dual-mode cell/WiFi technology, video surveillance and potentially digital signage.