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Chuck Robbins: ‘Flexibility And Choice’ Will Distinguish Cisco’s XaaS Strategy

‘I think we’re starting with a strong foundation with our partners and really having a high degree of trust, commitment to innovation, and obviously, a commitment to giving customers the choice of how they want to consume things,’ Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins tells CRN. ‘I feel good about the transition.’

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Cisco as a Service  

Cisco hasn’t played coy about its need for transformation. The well-established networking leader that got its start in the hardware arena has made great strides in recent years to shift its focus to software, services and subscriptions, and now, is working on moving to an everything as a service, or XaaS selling motion.

Cisco Chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins in August during the company’s fourth-quarter fiscal 2020 earnings call said that Cisco would be transitioning the majority of its portfolio to an everything-as-a-service model. Robbins made it clear that every Cisco product would be evaluated, and nothing was off the table.

Robbins, Cisco’s CEO for the past five years, sat down with CRN at the Cisco Partner Summit 2020 Digital event to talk about the vendor’s focus on moving to the new selling motion, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact IT spending around the globe. Robbins shared the resources Cisco has in place to help partners make the transition, how partners are reacting, and the partner advantage to working with Cisco in this space.

Here are excerpts from the conversation.

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