The complexion of Cisco may be changing with the rise of the cloud and the Internet of Things, but CEO John Chambers said Tuesday that partners still, and will always, come first.
"At the heart of what I want to communicate is that it's a partner ecosystem that we are not only deeply committed to, but it's the way we are going to win together," Chambers said during his keynote address Tuesday at Cisco's global Partner Summit in Las Vegas.
Chambers argued that Cisco's focus on partner engagement and partner profitability, despite the company's pivot to a greater cloud and services play, is unrelenting -- even compared to rivals with big channel footprints like Hewlett-Packard, who also hosted its global partner conference this week in Las Vegas.
"How many of you attended the HP partner conference yesterday? How was it? How many of you liked it?" Chambers asked partners, prompting a few solution providers to raise their hands. "The point that I am [making] is that deeply embedded in our peers -- and they are great companies -- is not an attitude toward partnering like you see at Cisco."
Chambers' keynote came the day after the company unveiled its new global cloud strategy, which involves a mix of public, private and hybrid clouds being hosted within a network of Cisco- and partner-owned data centers around the world. Through the initiative, Cisco will be offering a range of cloud services including Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and existing Cisco cloud services, such as its Hosted Collaboration Solution and Meraki cloud-based WiFi.
Chambers touted cloud as a growth opportunity Cisco and its partners can jump on immediately.
"We recently got ranked by [market research firm] Synergy as the number one hybrid cloud player," Chambers said. "Now, think back five years ago when we entered this market and we asked CTO [Padmasree Warrior] to lead us there. People thought we wouldn’t even have the staying power, and now we are the fastest growing player [in cloud] infrastructure."
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