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Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins Credits Partners in Shift to Software and Services Business

The CEO said partners brought in almost $8 billion in managed service bookings in the past fiscal year.

Christine Horton

November 9, 2021

2 Min Read
Gear Shift

CISCO PARTNER SUMMIT — CEO Chuck Robbins is thanking channel partners for helping Cisco deliver on its business transformation. He spoke to them Tuesday at the virtual Cisco Partner Summit 2021.

He addressed his “ambitious targets” for building Cisco’s software and services business when he took the reins as CEO. Now, he said, Cisco has “delivered all those targets.”


Cisco’s Chuck Robbins

“When I started, we had just over $3 billion in software subscriptions,” he said. “We exited last year with close to $12 billion with incredible remaining performance obligations, and a $16 billion run rate software business.”

Cisco announced Cisco Plus in March, enabling the company to start offering its network, security and management solutions as a service. Robbins reiterated his strategy of delivering as much technology as it can as a service in the future. He said the transformation to software and services gives more predictability, both to Cisco and partners.

“It gives us more visibility to our financial future, provides more consistency in our collective results. And it’s good for our customers,” he said.

The CEO said Cisco would continue to build best hardware. However, with software, “we can actually innovate faster, and we can deliver them more innovation more rapidly as we move forward.”

He told partners they have played a huge role in the transformation.

“Not only helping us as we changed our offers over the years but delivering our technology as a service to our customers. You’ve taken our technology and delivered over 2,000 managed services to our customers. In fact, in fiscal year 2021 that resulted in almost $8 billion of bookings, all based on your own intellectual property.”

Hybrid Work Opportunity

Additionally, Robbins talked about the opportunities from hybrid working.

“Hybrid work is truly about collaboration but it’s also about a new security architecture,” Robbins said. “It’s about networking. We have to think about the home or the coffee shop as a small branch going forward.”

Furthermore, customers need networking, collaboration and security there.

“And all that has to be underpinned and powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning,” he said. “And it has to be built to encourage inclusiveness for these employees who are working in a very distributed way.”

Robbins pointed out that Wi-Fi 6, 400 GB and the emergence of edge capabilities are all going to be tailwinds for both Cisco and its partners businesses going forward.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Christine Horton or connect with her on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

Christine Horton

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.

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