Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins has told his partners they need to "move with tremendous speed" and that providing connectivity to customers is no longer enough.
Speaking at his first Cisco Partner Summit as CEO, Robbins delivered a speech to the 2,200 partners in attendance which emphasised the need for rapid evolution in line with technology changes that are "moving faster than they ever have".
"It's about continuing to drive connectivity; going from 18 billion [connected] devices to 50 billion devices and hundreds of billions over the next decade," he said. "But those connections unto themselves and the convergence of the industrial protocol, or whatever they do, do not bring any value to the customer.
"We have to be thinking about the insights that can really be gained as a result of these connections and then we have to get insights to the real business problems the customers have. This is how we have to change as we look to the future and how we can continue to bring value to customers."
He said that customers are no longer looking at technology as a cost-saving tool any more, which means they are asking for new requirements from resellers.
"[Customers] are actually looking for different things from their future partners than what their IT organisations were looking for in the past," he said. "They are looking for companies who understand, have the vision and the scale.
"Because they are now starting to talk about connecting thousands of mining operations or millions of elevators, they need a company and a set of partners that can bring the services capability, the software assets, the hardware, the scale and the solutions that they can count on and who will be here a decade from now. That's the opportunity that lies ahead of us all."
This need to diversify was reflected in Cisco announcing a number of new products at the conference in San Diego. It launched its Cisco HyperFlex Systems, a hyper-converged offering, and a range of Nexus 9000 switching platforms for the datacentre, which "give Cisco customers a two-year innovation advantage over competitive technology," a company statement said.
Cisco also announced its latest acquisition, with a deal for CliQr, a cloud company which Robbins said "is a major enablement layer for the hybrid cloud deployment".
Upping the pace
In order to succeed in the future, Robbins said Cisco's partners must move quickly to adapt to the changing world.
"Together we have to continue to evolve our services so that we can provide that value to our customers going forward," he said. "To a certain extent this is going to require us all to think differently. The first thing I would tell you is we have to move with tremendous speed. We have to move faster than our customers, faster than the markets and we have to try and out-move the next geopolitical or economic challenge. We have to move faster together."
As well as moving faster, partners should also look to cooperate with each other to succeed in the rapidly changing world, he said.
"What we believe is that in the future, it's going to provide an opportunity for more of you to work together because it's a complex world and deep expertise in certain areas is going to be required."
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