Thousands of partners flocked to the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas last week for Cisco Partner Summit 2017 to hear firsthand about Cisco’s vision and strategy for the future. If you weren’t able to attend, here are 4 key takeaways you missed:
Several enhancements to the Cisco Partner Program
Cisco is evolving its channel strategy to help partners capture new opportunities, refine software and service skills, and differentiate themselves in the markets they serve. For starters, it’s taking several steps to simplify deal registration (e.g., it’s consolidating its 15 hunting and teaming program tracks into just 2). Another program update is Cisco VIP Annuity, a new incentive program that provides partners with upfront rebates for SaaS deals (both new deals and renewals). The company’s also launching a new Master Networking Specialization (starts March 1, 2018) that will include software, automation, analytics, services and programmability skill development. Another new incentive program is VIP Activation, which adds back-end rebates for Cisco ONE, DNA (Digital Network Architecture) Advantage, Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) and Cisco Stealthwatch deals. “You’re going to see us bring in double or triple the number of partners we have today and add a lot more of our software to the mix where partners will be incented for adoption, expansion and renewal on all of that software,” said Sandra Flinders, senior director of Cisco's Worldwide Services Partner Programs.
Cisco and ConnectWise announce partnership
Cisco MSPs who use ConnectWise business management software were happy to hear the ConnectWise Unite with Cisco announcement. The new platform combines networking, security and collaboration services from Cisco—including Cisco Meraki, Spark, Umbrella and Stealthwatch Cloud—into a single dashboard that helps partners sell, manage and bill for Cisco services. Plus, the dashboard is a standalone tool that does not require ConnectWise’s other products such as ConnectWise Automate, ConnectWise Sell or ConnectWise Control. Licensing for the service is offered on a per-customer basis at $10 per customer per month. Partners interested in testing the service before buying can sign up for a free trial of ConnectWise Unite with Cisco now through Dec. 31, 2017. For additional details, check out the Partner Launch Hub, too.
Cisco advances multicloud push with Google Cloud partnership
Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene made a surprise guest appearance at Partner Summit to discuss Google’s recent hybrid IT services partnership with Cisco, which was a year in the making, she said. The announcement is part of Cisco’s multicloud push, which also includes organizing its cloud portfolio into 4 focus areas:
- Cloud Advisory. From inception to delivery, Cloud Advisory Service is positioned to help Cisco partners meet their customers’ unique goals in every phase of their cloud transformation journey through aligned, accelerated and actionable guidance. Cloud Advisory includes the following services:
- Strategy alignment and cloud roadmap. Create a strong foundation for your cloud strategy so you can achieve the benefits of cloud adoption and virtualization.
- Digital service assessment. Cisco cloud experts evaluate private, public and hybrid cloud options across multiple opportunities for infrastructure, applications, security and operations.
- Business operating model. With this service, partners can assess a customer’s current operating model and use key business objectives to recommend areas of focus and enhancement needed to implement the target operating model.
- Cloud Connect. This focus area comprises the recently acquired Viptela cloud-first SD-WAN routers (vEdge and vEdge Cloud) along with Umbrella (the industry’s first secure internet gateway in the cloud) and CSR 1000V (a multiprotocol label-switching edge solution that’s used to aggregate multiple AWS regions across Adobe’s private backhaul).
- Cloud Protect. This area is made up of Cisco’s cloud security solutions and services, including Umbrella, AMP (advanced malware protection) for Endpoints, Meraki Systems Manager, Tetration Cloud and Cloudlock. (Note: Umbrella appears in Cloud Protect and Cloud Connect do to its dual role as a domain name system and security service.)
- Cloud Consume. This focus area includes CloudCenter (a user-created model that defineseach application stack's deployment and management requirements in a cloud-independent format) and AppDynamics APM (an application performance management and IT operations analytics solution).
Machine Learning and AI are at the heart of the digital transformation
Built around Cisco DNA, the new network from Cisco uses intent-based technologies that constantly learn, adapt and protect. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are at the forefront of the digital transformation, which ties in with Cisco’s recent announcement to acquire Perspica, a company that specializes in the use of machine learning to analyze streams of data in order to provide visibility throughout the entire application infrastructure stack. Perspica’s technology and team will be injected into Cisco’s AppDynamics division. Additionally, Cisco will be integrating its MindMeld AI platform (acquired in May) into Cisco Spark to bring voice AI to meeting rooms. "The workplace of the future is one powered by AI,” said Rowan Trollope, senior vice president of Cisco's IoT and Applications Group.
For additional takeaways from Cisco Partner Summit 2017, check out Cisco Virtual Partner Summit 2017, which includes several session recaps, on-demand videos and other highlights from the event and there’s even a dedicated landing page that summarizes the launches and announcements from the show here and a page that includes highlights of media coverage and highlight quotes from the event.