Chambers Advises Partners To Embrace Web 2.0

In several appearances at the Cisco Partner Summit this week in Las Vegas, Chambers hammered home the concept that Web 2.0 -- which he defines as the technologies that enable collaboration -- represents the next big opportunity for Cisco and its solution providers.

CRNTV: Chambers On Web 2.0 And The Channel

"I don't think there's ever been a better opportunity to be in this industry, a better time," Chambers said during a keynote address Thursday at the conference. "If you take away only one message from this conference, it's that we are committed to you. And if you take away a second message, it's that this is a transition to collaboration and Web 2.0 that gives us all an opportunity to achieve things that before we only got to dream about."

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It's a vision Chambers is driving through Cisco's increasingly broad product portfolio, which is branching out to include not only networking infrastructure but also applications, VoIP, video and collaboration services such as the soon-to-be-acquired WebEx Communications.

While first-generation Internet developments were driven by enterprises down into the consumer market, the reverse is now true, with consumer technologies such as social networking driving fundamental changes into the business market, Chambers said in an interview with CRN TV.

"It will change organizational structures, productivity, how you do health care, how you run your business [and] how you communicate with your family as well," Chambers said. "I think it is the next wave of the Internet, both from productivity and changing people's lives."

It's a mantra that Cisco is now living by. Implementing widespread use of Web 2.0 collaboration tools throughout Cisco will enable the company to go from taking on two major business objectives per year to 10 or more next year, Chambers told press and analysts in a roundtable discussion at the conference.

With such a breadth of technologies to choose from and markets to target with Web 2.0 solutions, channel partners will need to prioritize their efforts to differentiate themselves, Chambers said.

"It's so important to be realistic on prioritization, where you put your resources, what is your sustainable differentiation within that and how you move more toward solutions as opposed to pinpoint products. First, pinpoint products have no margins at all and, second, it's not how customers are going to buy in the future. So learning how to take a solution to a person's home or to a small/medium business or even to the enterprise becomes more important," Chambers said when asked what's on his wish list of things he needs Cisco partners to do. "That's where the growth and margins will be, so that's something we both have to do, not just us."