Feature Story

Cisco outlines the path to being future ready at Partner Summit Digital

Sean Michael Kerner explores new innovation announced at Partner Summit.
Oct 29, 2020

Guest post by: Sean Michael Kerner

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins has stood on various stages over the past 20 years talking to the company's partners, but never quite like how he has for the 2020 Partner Summit.

"2020 - I don't think any of us are going to look back and wish that this year stays with us any longer than it has to," Robbins quipped during his opening keynote at the Cisco Partner Summit on Oct. 28. "It is a year in which everything changed."

While things have changed and organizations and individuals have faced new challenges, Robbins emphasized that now more than ever it is critical to be future ready. Robbins pointed out multiple examples of how different aspects of society have been impacted by technology during the pandemic. He noted that before 2020, few healthcare professionals were open to the idea of virtual visits, but that's now the new normal. In the education sector, he said that a billion and a half students around the world have adopted a hybrid education model, seemingly overnight.

"Every customer I talk to says one thing that has become clear out of this pandemic and that is that we all have to accelerate the innovation that we're delivering," Robbins said.

New Innovations Announced at Partner Summit

Todd Nightingale, SVP and GM, Cisco Enterprise Networking and Cloud detailed a series of new innovations at the event including the new Intersight cloud operations platform. Included in the new platform, Intersight Kubernetes Service helps automate the lifecycle of cloud-native workload deployments. Intersight now also has enhanced integration with AppDynamics to help improve user experience, and with Intersight Workload Optimizer, administrators now benefit from improved application resource management.

Cisco also used the Partner Summit as the venue to highlight a pair of new targeted solutions to help legislatures and judicial operations adapt to the new normal of the pandemic era. Robbins said during his keynote that WebEx Legislate will help governments around the world continue to function and deliver on their commitments, even while they're not able to get together in person.

The new Connected Justice Solution for courts and correctional facilities will help to serve a similar function for the judicial system. Cisco has partnered with Cloverhound and TRACKtech for the Connected Justice Solution, providing real-time video, and remote check-ins among other key capabilities.

See also: Catch the headlines from Cisco Partner Summit Digital

During a Q&A session with press and analysts at Partner Summit, Jeetu Patel, SVP and GM of Cisco's Security and Applications Business detailed multiple security enhancements that are coming to the Cisco portfolio. Patel highlighted new XDR (Extended Detection and Response) capabilities coming to the SecureX platform that will help organizations to detect and respond to an intrusion. Patel added that SecureX now also integrates with Cisco's zero trust capabilities to automatically detect suspicious logins.

"Right now, the security market is highly fractured and that causes a huge amount of heartache for the security professionals," Patel commented. "What we're trying to do is provide a single platform so that you have continuity."

The future will be about service driven models

During a Q&A with press and analysts, Robbins was asked what the biggest change was likely to be as a result of the pandemic.

"I think the most prominent one will be the acceleration of delivering our capabilities as a service," Robbins said.

Robbins explained that moving to an 'as-a-service' model is not just about taking a router and putting a wrapper on it via Cisco Capital and selling it to somebody on a monthly basis. Rather the 'as-a-service' model is really about taking the core functionality that the products actually provide and seeing if that can be delivered in software, as a service that a customer would subscribe to.

In terms of how long it will take to shift the Cisco portfolio to a service subscription model, Robbins said that some customers will be quick to adopt the approach while others will take a while to embrace it.

"The other thing is looking at every aspect of our portfolio and facilitating the ease at which we can actually make it happen," Robbins said. "The market is going to determine what makes sense and we're going to bring things to market as we get them enabled to be delivered that way."


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