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The Network. Intuitive.

The Cisco tagline, and the theme of yesterday morning’s keynote at Cisco Partner Summit from Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, was about using technology to drive simplification in the Era of Intelligence. He talked about how today, Cisco is enabling customers to get insights from the “massive, unbearable amounts of data” they’re collecting, and that means giving its channel partners the tools to get their hands around all that information. The journey to the cloud has introduced unbearable amounts of data and complexity for customers to manage, and this is good opportunity for partners.

According to Chris Bernard, an IDC analyst, “Cisco has fallen in love with networking again.” That might be because in the current digital age, networking is at the core. IDC projects that in 2020 we will be adding one million mobile devices per hour, which means customers need secure digital platforms now more than ever. And the network must be intuitive to ensure a seamless, effective experience.

Robbins introduced the key elements that partners must focus on today to be successful in this digital age. “There are five key elements that we need to work on together in helping our customers actually build a foundation for how they roll out their digital strategies over the next few years,” he told the audience. Here are the five requirements:

  • Security is foundational. Security architecture has to be defined upfront and be at the foundation of work with customers. Robbins gave an analogy about how you don’t build a house then add doors and locks – everything must be done together – and the same goes for architecting a secure network. The network, cloud, and end devices must be built upfront.


  • Reinvent the network. To accommodate the growth of digital and mobile devices users, organizations will need secure digital platforms now more than ever. The common denominator is the network, but it must be fundamentally different than it is today – scalable and programmable.


  • Embracing a multi-cloud world. Today’s cloud has become a complicated distributed set of technology assets that our customers are trying to manage. Customers are buying multiple applications whether HR or CRM systems from multiple providers, while also operating private data centers.


  • Unlock the power of data. So much data is created at the edge of the network that needs to be dealt with immediately. The network sees everything, creating analytics to drive better decision-making and customers should be empowered to see through the analytics.


  • End user and customer experience. Robbins said, “Think about the expectations of your customer [and] the expectation of their customer. Not to mention the employees. There’s an incredible, incredible competitive environment for talent and all of our employees and all of your employees expect to have an incredible experience when they work with you. We really bring so much of that to life with our collaboration architecture.”
    Partners are at the heart of Cisco, and according to Robbins they will remain at the heart of the organization for as long as he is there. So it’s up to us to capitalize on the opportunities that come with The Network.Intuitive. and drive the success of the new digital era.

    Photo: “Eye” is a 30-foot tall sculpture by contemporary artist Tony Tasset, on exhibit in downtown Dallas.