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Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins On The 'Proven' Subscription Model And 'Huge' 5G Opportunity

‘We've been investing significantly over the last few years in 5G,’ Cisco's Chuck Robbins tells CRN. ‘We've been investing in this space for four years and we haven't even announced our first product yet. That's a big commitment to spend that long in today's world with the pace things are going.’

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What's the biggest pain point for partners today?

I'm going assume that one of the biggest pain points is that business model transition because it's not simple. It's not simple for us—the complexity it brings are enormous. It's quite simple to say we are going to go there, but it's much more difficult to make that happen and I know as hard as it is for us, when you think about a partner who has many solutions and technology [suppliers] and most of those other companies they represent are also going through some level of transformation—they have to be able to navigate all of that at the same time. I believe that is one of the more difficult things that partners are trying to figure out.

  What's coming down the pike that partners and customers should be on the lookout for?

I will tell you that I said on our last earnings call that I think the innovation within our portfolio is stronger than it's ever been in my memory. We have more launches coming in the next couple of months, so I think we have a lot in our pipeline that will help our partners continue to profit. I think the biggest thing we can do is deliver innovation that our customers really want and need because it gives our partners a lot of opportunity to create technology that customers can get excited about as opposed to technology that you have to spend cycles explaining to customers why they should care.

[Maria Martinez, Cisco's executive vice president and chief customer experience officer] and her team are doing a phenomenal job of building our customer success model in a way that aligns very neatly with our partner community and provides concurrent profitability for both of us together as we go forward with our [customer experience and life-cycle] model.

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