Five take-aways from Cisco's partner conference

30 March 2016

Last week I attended Cisco’s Partner Summit and Marketing Velocity conference in San Diego. Marketing Velocity is an inspiring day full of speakers and workshops focused on marketing best practices. Here are five things that I took away from the event.
1. We must continue to put customer experience at the heart of our strategy

I’m not a marketer but as a business owner, how we position our brand and take our proposition to our customers is critical to our success. Brilliant customer experience is at the heart of our strategy and Guy Kawasaki’s keynote on ‘enchantment’ confirmed that we are doing the right thing in putting customer experience first.  

He has written about this before and I agree with his core message that achieving likeability, trustworthiness and excellence are essential when building relationships with customers. Guy Kawasaki was fantastically entertaining and provided a toolkit to ensure when we talk about Ideal we can prove our value to customers.

2. Our partnership with Cisco puts us in a strong position to support our customers in the multi-cloud world

Cisco are a strategic partner of Ideal and attending their Partner Summit offers the opportunity to hear their strategy in person and to consider how we can align our own strategy to get the most benefit for our customers. The summit kicked off with 2 major stories: the acquisition of CliQr and launch of HyperFlex. Both confidently position Cisco as a continued major player in the data centre space and give partners like Ideal a great opportunity to support customers as they navigate their journey in a multi-cloud world.

According to a Cisco sponsored IDC report, while 40% organisations have already adopted public or private cloud services, 75% have no repeatable managed or optimised cloud strategy. Our expert consultancy can support organisations to understand how moving a particular workload to the cloud can affect costs, business responsiveness and security and cloud management platforms like CliQr allow management of applications between and on any cloud.

3. The Digital Ready Network is here

Equally disruptive was the launch of DNA (Digital Network Architecture). This software driven digital ready network platform is a brilliant move towards policy based automated networking.

We all know digitisation is rampantly occurring across all industries and provides a mechanism to navigate the new VUCA world (Volatile Uncertain Complex Ambiguous). Digitisation depends upon a high performance, secure and reliable network able to respond to business demands and provide visibility into network activity.

The key messages I heard about DNA were:

  • It’s programmable, so can be automated and changed quickly based on changing business demands
  • It’s extensible, and control can be taken away from the network architecture and integrated into wider IT and business architecture
  • It provides rich information and telemetry, to facilitate better decision making
  • It’s policy driven, meaning quicker, more consistent higher performing more secure networks with less intervention and waste

This migration to a programmable, automated platform will demand software skills not inherent in current Cisco expertise. At Ideal we are ready for this challenge and look forward to a software defined future, ensuring we have the skills and capability to support customers on their digitisation journey.

Ultimately this is an opportunity for us to help our customers protect the investment they have made in their IT infrastructure and work with them to build ambitious IT environments which can drive innovation and agility in their business.

4. Coming soon: the end of death by Powerpoint

Chris Dedicoat closed the summit with a commitment to support partners in transforming how we sell. For any of us who have sat through a ‘death by power point’ moment with Cisco, those days are over. I was delighted to hear that Cisco will be sharing what they learn with their partner as they roll out their Digital Ready Networking sales movement, banning power points in customer engagements. The future sounds engaging and interactive.

5. IT needs more female leaders off-stage and fewer dancing girls on-stage

Dr Sue Black has come out this week in support of gender quotas to improve the percentage women in tech. Having commented before on the scarcity of women at last year’s Partner Summit, I applaud Cisco who have tackled this head on and appointed so many inspirational women to lead in their business and take their place on the stage this year.

So I was disappointed to find women on stage dancing for our entertainment at the region parties. In this week of International Women’s Day I shout out against this everyday sexism and urge the industry to work harder off the conference stage.

If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you navigate the cloud or find out more about digital ready networks – get in touch – call us on 01273 957500 or send us a message


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