Cisco Partner Summit Preview: 6 Things Partners Should Expect

Cisco Partner Summit 2016 (Part Two)

Next week, over 2,300 channel partners will flock to San Francisco to attend Cisco Partner Summit 2016 – marking the second partner summit the networking vendor has held this year. Cisco said 2016 will be the only year that the company will host two partner summits.

The San Jose, Calif.-based networking giant's theme for the summit taking place from Nov. 1 to Nov. 3 is "Full Speed" which is focusing around digital transformation. In a recent blog post, Cisco Channel Chief Wendy Bahr said that executives will speak about the new tools and resources partners can take advantage of to increase revenues as customers look to modernize their IT environments.

Here are six things partners attending Cisco Partner Summit 2016 in San Francisco next week should expect.

Cisco's Cloud Strategy

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins is set to rally solution provider partners at the network leader's Cisco Partner Summit this week to take the cloud high road by focusing on multi-cloud and hybrid cloud rather than competing in head-to-head Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) warfare with Amazon Web Services (AWS), sources told CRN.

The Robbins message, according to one Cisco insider: "IaaS is not an end game. It is one piece of the puzzle. The cloud ecosystem is much more complex, and we know where the greatest opportunities lie. And that is where we are playing."

"Fundamentally, cloud is as much about business strategy, including application strategy, as it is about technology," Cisco said in a statement to CRN when asked about its cloud strategy. "Cisco is the only technology leader enabling customers and partners to thrive in a multi- and hybrid cloud world."

Product Announcements

Cisco held its first 2016 Partner Summit in late February at the San Diego Convention Center which saw more than 2,200 partners in attendance. During that event, Cisco unveiled a slew of new solutions including its new Digital Network Architecture, DNA, as well as a new line of Nexus switches.

If the first partner summit was any indication, partners should expect at least a few new product announcements next week.

Partner Summit Impact Sessions

Solution providers participating in Cisco's various Impact Sessions are in for a treat, according to Bahr (pictured). These sessions will be conducted by one or more top Cisco executives about specific areas of focus such as how to increase your profitability growth with DNA, the evolution of Cisco services and how the company aligns its strategy with partner programs.

"Impact Sessions are incredible opportunities to learn more about expanding your capabilities, leveraging the expanded partner ecosystem, the architectures you can sell and market today, and more," said Bahr, in a blog post.

The impact sessions will be held on Thursday, Nov. 3 from 8 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.

Acquisitions Ahead?

At Cisco's first partner summit this year in San Diego, the network leader reveled two acquisitions during the event: The purchase of cloud management startup CliQr for $260 million and little known Israel-based networking chip designer Leaba Semiconductor for $320 million.

Cisco has been on an acquisition tear in 2016, including acquiring software collaboration provider Worklife in October. If the first partner summit is any indicator, partners might see an acquisition or two unveiled in San Francisco.

Digital Transformation

Explaining how partners can maximum their profits by helping transition customers into the digital age will be a recurring theme during the event.

"We’ll talk about new tools and resources for you to take advantage of digital transformation. We’ll talk about new technology innovations — doubling down on simplicity, alignment, and evolving our value exchange," said Bahr. "We’ll talk about everything available to help you grow and profit."

Chuck In Charge

The keynote speaker of the summit will be CEO Robbins, now in his second year at the helm of Cisco. Robbins is scheduled to speak during the General Session at 1 p.m. on Nov. 1 to talk about Cisco's strategy and technology.

The other notable channel leaders speaking in San Francisco includes Chris Dedicoat, executive vice president, Worldwide Sales & Field Operations; David Goeckeler; senior vice president and General Manager, Networking and Security Business; Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and General Manager, IoT and Applications; and Bahr.