Cisco Live 2023: Cisco ELT’s 5 Big Statements

CEO Chuck Robbins, alongside the tech giant’s executive leadership team, talk about Cisco’s AI, networking and security launches, as well as the biggest trends happening in the IT industry on-stage at Cisco Live 2023.

Cisco on the Record

Cisco Live 2023 kicked off this week in Las Vegas with each of the tech giant’s business units having a moment in the spotlight.

First, Cisco networking revealed that it is following in security’s footsteps with its new, unified Cisco Networking Cloud platform strategy that help customers consolidate their networking environments and eventually, manage from one place. And speaking of taking a platform approach, the tech giant also launched a vendor-agnostic full stack observability platform to bring together contextual and predictive insights so that businesses can solve problems faster and optimize end user experiences. After that, Cisco continued to make good on its promise to unite its security portfolio into a single platform by unveiling a new security service edge offering, multi-cloud security feature and a firewall series aimed at applications and multi-cloud environments.

And that’s just to name a few of the announcements at the show.

CEO Chuck Robbins was joined onstage on the first day of the show by Cisco’s executive leadership team to talk through the slew of launches and innovations, and about the biggest trends happening in the IT industry today. Here’s what Cisco’s leadership team had to say at Cisco Live 2023.

CEO Chuck Robbins On IT Simplification

We want to help you accelerate your innovation. We want to simplify your experience. You’re going to hear a lot [at Cisco Live 2023] about simplifying networking, simplifying security, simplifying the deployment and development of applications, simplify, simplify, simplify. But let’s be clear. We love features. Cisco loves features. For years, it’s been a feature game, feature, feature, feature, feature. But if you can’t deploy them, they’re no good. So, the number one feature that I think our team needs to continue to focus on is simplicity. Simplify your experience using our technology.

At the same time, we have to build the best products and the best solutions that help you do what you’re trying to do. We’re going to continue to deliver software solutions where software is appropriate to solve the problems or to tackle the opportunities that you have. And in those cases where you need the highest performance hardware in the world, we’re going build that too. The teams are doing that every day. And we want to continue to give you more choice.

Chief Strategy Officer Liz Centoni on IT consolidation

I don’t expect us to come in and say: “Hey, we want to be the only platform in your environment.” But what we can help you do is consolidate the field to fewer tools, collect data from the source and become that single source of truth in your environment. The complex correlation tied to business contexts [and] AI-driven analysis to predict can enable that cross sharing across organizations so your teams can focus on those high-value outcomes at the end of the day. We enable a number of use cases on the platform already from cloud-native application observability, to custom resource optimization, to application security and also, AIOps.

Executive Vice President/General Manager, Enterprise and Cloud, Massive Scale Infrastructure Teams Jonathan Davidson on Cisco Networking Cloud

Cisco networking cloud. What is it? It is an integrated platform for both on-premise and cloud-based operating models. We will help you manage your Cisco networking products in one way. With Cisco networking cloud, the swivel chair operations of the past will give way to simplified management. Fragmented platforms will converge and isolated pockets of data will be replaced by accessible insights available to all. This is the same platform driven approach Jeetu [Patel, Cisco’s executive vice president and general manager of security and collaboration] launched last year with Cisco Security Cloud. If it’s connected, it is now protected. We unified IT experience, security, and now networking.

Executive Vice President, General Manager, Security and Collaboration Jeetu Patel On generative AI for security policy management

The generative AI-based policy engine [will be] available by the end of the year. Super cool. And there’s two things that we have to keep in mind. One is it actually augments the administrator. We’re not trying to automate the human out of this, we’re trying to make sure that every human has an assistant with AI. And number two, we’re actually starting to see it in the next big revolution of user interface design, where we used to be in a command line interface, then we went to [graphical user interfaces] GUIs, then after GUIs, we went to touch interfaces. Now we’re in a prompt interface that actually merges with the GUI. So, what you’ll see as many, many more of these natural language interfaces that come in, it then becomes so much simpler to go on manage these things and there’s no need to have a Ph.D. to go out to manage firewall policies.

Executive Vice President, Chief Customer and Partner Officer Jeff Sharritts on the AI opportunity

In my conversations with customers around the world, there are three topics that come up in every single discussion. One, and this is probably not a big surprise, is around AI. Generative AI is changing the world right before our very eyes and at Cisco, we understand the immense value. Everything we build, everything that we create – our entire portfolio will leverage the power of AI.