Partnerships built on values and powerful innovation

At Partner Summit, Cisco celebrates an unmatched global ecosystem, exciting new products, and shared opportunities.
Partnerships built on values and powerful innovation

At Cisco’s Partner Summit event in Miami this week, a key theme was “Greater Together.” And that core message was confirmed over and over.  

As Cisco’s EVP and chief customer and partner officer Jeff Sharritts shared, fully 92 percent of Cisco’s business last quarter came through partners. And that was up from around 50 percent when Sharritts started with Cisco in 2000. 

But the importance of partnering together goes beyond sales (as critical as they are!). 

“The world is changing rapidly,” Sharritts said. “Paradigms are shifting and being completely rewritten. There are new opportunities, new challenges, new ways to sell and new buying centers to sell into. Greater Together speaks to all of that. It honors our past. It shines a light on our opportunity, but more than anything, it’s a call to action.” 

That call to action aligns to what technology can accomplish in a world beset by critical problems — and what Cisco’s vast global partner ecosystem can continue to accomplish.  

“We’ve come together to make the world better,” Sharritts continued. “Our technology solutions and expertise help countries fight poverty. We've rebuilt and built communities around the world with our technology. We've made health care and education better. We make critical infrastructure stronger and financial services more secure. We build what really matters and I'm very proud to be a part of this community.” 

Along with steep challenges, opportunities abound. Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins outlined the massive value at stake in coming years — all contingent on powerful innovation and committed teamwork.  

“At the same time that we have all these challenges in the world,” he said, “We also have tremendous opportunities. Generative AI, which came on the scene months ago, is going to add $4.4 trillion to global GDP on an annual basis. The global enterprise software market, $517 billion in the next five, six years, a trillion dollars on future of work.” 

Robbins emphasized that those opportunities can only be realized with partnerships. 

“Our customers know that they need our partners,” he added. “One of our analyst partners recently reported that 60 percent of our customers said they need to expand the number of partners they work with because they need your expertise, they need your capabilities to deal with all the complexities that they have that they’re dealing with today.” 


Fueling great partnerships with innovative technology 

Of course, great technology is the foundation for successful partnerships. And Partner Summit featured no shortage of amazing innovation.  

As Liz Centoni, Cisco EVP, chief strategy officer and GM for applications, said, “we’ve got the best partner ecosystem on the planet. And our innovation is coming to life in the best portfolio I’ve ever seen.” 

To that end, Centoni shared critical Cisco advances in the areas of hyperconnectivity, quantum networking, security, and AI. But all roads lead back to cloud, specifically the highly distributed multicloud environments in which so many of today’s organizations operate, and, sometimes, struggle.  

“One of the top priorities of our customers is how do I operate in this hybrid multi-cloud world?” she recounted. “We have solutions for those, so today we can actually securely connect our customers from their branch campus and data center to the cloud with our cloud on-ramp solution. With multi-cloud defense, we can enforce consistent security policies across public in private clouds from a single place, and with full-stack observability, we can observe applications regardless of which cloud they’re actually on.” 

AI has transformed nearly everything Cisco does today, and Centoni shared one of Cisco’s key advantages.  

“To really get the biggest benefit from AI, you need massive amounts of quality data,” she explained. “There’s very few companies on this planet that have that now. AI has used it pervasively across our portfolio.” 

Jonathan Davidson, EVP and GM for Cisco networking, picked up on the theme.  

“AI and secure connectivity will make humankind more productive, more sustainable, more profitable,” he said. “This is going to accelerate as all of you help connect billions of people and trillions of things over the next five, 10, and 20 years. You all have the insights to identify new adopters and inspire them to reinvent themselves.” 

One area where AI is showing is value in cutting complexity. Networking and security in multicloud environments are more convoluted than ever before. But Cisco is building a simple user experience, with AI-powered platforms like Networking Cloud.  

“We are simplifying networking everywhere for every customer at every scale,” Davidson stressed. “We are converging our management platforms with the Cisco Networking Cloud, which is our vision for both on-premise as well as cloud operating models. This is going to help you manage your customer's Cisco networking infrastructure products from one place, help them to deliver secure, simple, predictable experiences to all of their end users.” 


Thwarting hackers with powerful but simple security  

Every organization worries about security. And Jeetu Patel, Cisco EVP and general manager of security and collaboration, described the tangled web of security solutions and vendors that add additional anxieties.  

“There’s about 3,500 vendors in the market on average,” Patel said. “Most companies have about 50 to 70 products within their cybersecurity stack. And it’s frankly getting to be untenable.” 

Cutting through that multilayered complexity is another integrated, AI-powered platform: Cisco Security Cloud.  

“Cisco Security Cloud,” Patel explained, “is going to be three specific things. We're going to protect the user. We're going to protect cloud and cloud infrastructure, and we're going to go out and protect against a breach that might occur and detect, respond, and remediate that breach as quickly as possible. And all of that's going to be built on the foundation of firewall.” 

While sharing Cisco’s current security products, Patel became even more excited at the prospect of combining them with Splunk, the cutting-edge organization at the intersection of security that Cisco recently announced will be its biggest ever acquisition.  

“These are brand new products that we’ve built from the ground up,” he said. “And then we’ll combine that with the power of Splunk. There’s something really, really potent here that's going to be really exciting to go out and take to market over the course of the next few years.” 


Hybrid work and sustainability, where opportunity abounds 

In his keynote, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins shared the huge opportunity represented by hybrid work, and Jeetu Patel picked up the theme in a Day 2 presentation. Sharing Cisco’s focus on reimaging work, reimagining workspaces, and reimagining customer experience (via Webex Call Center), he shared some great new innovations on the Webex platform.  

“We’ve completely reimagined the Webex platform with AI,” he stressed, adding that “we’ve spent a couple of billion dollars in building out a very solid AI infrastructure.” 

Among the innovations that Patel highlighted were solutions that use generative AI to compensate for low bandwidth.   

“We have fundamentally re-imagined how a voice stream can get encoded, transmitted and decoded,” Patel explained, “up to 16 times more efficiency than the industry standard codex — 16 times more.” 

“We solved audio,” Patel continued, “but now we are going to use generative AI also for the video sites. …  So, it takes a fraction of the amount of bandwidth that you need, but you get a better resolution picture on the other end than what you even transmitted originally.” 

On the IT end of collaboration, Patel discussed Webex Control Hub, which, integrated with Cisco solutions like ThousandEyes, gives precise insights into network performance, troubleshooting, and energy usage — all accessible with a highly intuitive AI assistant. 

Of course, sustainability is another key concern for all organizations, and Jonathan Davidson returned to confirm Cisco’s commitment to helping partners and customers on their own sustainability journeys.  

“We’re investing in innovation, we’re investing in circular IT programs, and we are investing in you with programs, training tools, and enablement for a solid sustainability practice that you can all run,” he said. “Cisco uniquely fits the bill to help you win because sustainability starts at the intersection between the network and energy.” 

He then focused on one innovation, the powerful Silicon One chip, which is transforming infrastructures while helping to reduce IT energy demands, which he stated have accounted for 2 to 4 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.  

“With Silicon One, we make the possibilities of AI an absolute reality,” Davidson said. “And the Nexus 9,000 Silicon One has been shown to be 59 times more energy efficient than previous versions. That is so powerful.” 

Silicon One, and all the other great innovations shared, gain ever greater impact when amplified across Cisco’s partner ecosystem. And Jeff Sharritts bought it home with a concluding message. 

“Let’s keep innovating,” he concluded, “let’s keep collaborating and let’s show every customer, every competitor, and every person that follows technology that we are greater together.”