Networking giant Cisco has reinforced its support of its partner network as it makes more ground in managed services, drives further program simplicity and success in cloud marketplaces.
Addressing its global partner network during Cisco Partner Summit 2023, Cisco EVP and chief customer and partner officer Jeff Sharritts made a statement in ‘being the most relevant’ vendor in a partner’s portfolio when working with customers.
“We're committed to ensuring that our partnership is mutually beneficial,” Sharritts said. “We have lots of advantages as a company, our brands, global footprint, portfolio and leadership, but our partner ecosystem and all of the unique roles that each of you play is our single biggest differentiator in the market.”
Cisco EMEA president Oliver Tuszik said it has achieved growth momentum in areas such as software-as-a-service (SaaS) (23 per cent), recurring software (11 per cent) and services (10 per cent).
Tuszik highlighted the managed services market was its biggest focus area that was growing at about 12 per cent as it continues to build more managed offers across its portfolio.
“You can adapt and bring in your unique services and capabilities to build up your own service that allows partners to grow in the managed services area,” Tuszik said.
Cloud marketplaces was also flagged as its fastest growing route to market, Tuszik said and admitted that the vendor was “a bit late to the party, but we’ve caught up”.
Newly announced global partner sales leader Rodney Clark also greeted partners at the Summit. While he does not officially start in his role until January, he reiterated his determination in continuing to drive its partner strategy.
Double digit growth ambitions
Cisco chair and CEO Chuck Robbins reiterated its commitment to the partner community and market opportunities across new and recurring revenue as it guns for double-digit growth in 2024.
“We may not be perfect. We will screw things up, but our underlying commitment to you in solving problems, helping you be successful and going to market together is stronger today than it ever has been,” Robbins said.
FY23 was a record year for Cisco across earnings, revenue and income, with Robbins stating 85 percent of the vendor's software bookings and 80 per cent of recurring software revenue derived from its partner ecosystem.
Robbins also touched on the opportunity within artificial intelligence (AI) and Cisco’s investment in this space, the hybrid workforce and security, revealing 90 per cent of its security bookings are coming through the partner community.
Earlier this month, Cisco CIO Fletcher Previn discussed how it was embedding generative artificial intelligence (genAI) into its entire product portfolio and internal backend systems.
The plan is to use it in virtually every corner of the business, from automating network functions and monitoring security to creating new software products.
At the intersection of AI and security, Robbins said it spotted an opportunity, resulting in the largest acquisition in Cisco’s history of Splunk.
Splunk CEO Gary Steele also graced the stage at Partner Summit, further reinforcing the opportunities in the observability space, with partners at the core of the strategy.
“There's tremendous value that can be delivered on behalf of partners,” Steele said.
“One of the things that we think about every single day is how we get customers to leverage Splunk more fully within their environment, security, and broadly across their digital footprint — partners will play a critical role here. We believe that there's no way we can deliver all those services and we need this partner community.”
New partner modules
Cisco also revealed seven new partner modules on the Cisco Observability Platform built by development partners.
The new modules are focused on five critical areas including business insights, SAP visibility, networking, MLOps and SLO and sustainability.
Specifically, the modules include CloudFabrix - SAP Observability, CloudFabrix - Campus Analytics, Evolutio - Claims Insurance, Evolutio - eCommerce, DataRobot – MLOps by Evolutio, Nobl9 – Service Level Objectives (SLO) and Climatiq - Cloud Carbon Insights. Two more modules are on the way to market in Cisco CX - Sustainability Insights and Aporia - MLOps.
New Security Suites
To help address the evolving threat landscape, Cisco announced new Security Suites to provide a more integrated, predictable and economical way to buy and consume its portfolio based on three areas of User, Cloud and Breach Protection — the suites will improve security efficacy, enhance the user experience and boost return on investment.
In an effort to sweeten the deal for partners, Cisco is also acting on boosting partner profitability through the ability to achieve up to 30 per cent margin on Suites, a Lifecycle Incentive Program worth up to US$250,000 and “white glove” deal registration for Suites and its Firewall protection, which was "coming soon".
Julia Talevski attended Cisco Partner Summit 2023 as a guest of Cisco.