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Cisco: Partners ‘In Step’ with Transition to Software Centricity

Software Box

… a dedicated software practice lead, so they look at software … as a dedicated practice that sits horizontally in their business.

And many of them are appointing senior executives to that position because it’s that strategic. We see partners investing in expertise around software licensing so that they can help customers purchase the right license arrangement that meets their consumption needs. We see partners investing in customer-success functions, and customer success is all about driving adoption and utilization, and the partners that are really doing this well are actually beginning to make customer success a key part of the DNA of their business. So when they go in and they sell a deal, they’re actually engaging with the customer long before the deal’s ever landed to build out an adoption plan for the customer, so that after that deal has landed, the customer-success team moves in and engages in regular work with the account to help them drive and get value from their investment. And then the last area that we see partners investing in is software development, and many of our products have now opened up with APIs that enable our partners to build on these platforms to create custom applications to integrate into business process[es]. All of these different areas that partners are investing in open up new service-rich opportunities for them to drive new profitable growth.

CP: Sounds like Cisco’s transition is helping partners make changes they need to make in their business model.

GW: That’s absolutely correct. And for the partners to continue to be most relevant to their accounts, they’re recognizing the need to make this transition. So we’re very much in step and doing this together. And one of the things that I’ll point out about our strategy that really resonates with partners is this strategy that we call platform economics, which is what we refer to as a virtuous cycle where if you’re delivering ongoing, recurring value afforded to customers through the software suites that they buy, then that opens up the opportunity for partners to derive recurring revenue. And those two things go hand in hand: delivering recurring value, and with software we can innovate fast and deliver incremental capabilities ongoing through those software suites, and that opens up the opportunity for partners and Cisco to enjoy healthy growth of recurring revenue over time in the life cycle of the customer.

CP: Does the BroadSoft acquisition play a key role in Cisco’s transition? If so, how?

GW: We’ve made a number of acquisitions as we’ve been on this journey to software-centric, and BroadSoft I would categorize as another one of those, bringing [their] cloud telephony and call-control platform that now we’ll combine with the … meetings experience run by WebEx, and then our team collaboration and video underpinned by Cisco Spark. So when you put all of that together, all of those really open up the doors for exciting, new partner and Cisco opportunities to drive more recurring value and recurring revenue.

CP: How big of a role is cloud going to play in Cisco’s future? How about IoT and other emerging technologies?

GW: Cloud is a really important part of our strategy, and one of the things that we’ve identified and we’re really working to leverage our portfolio is to embrace what we would categorize as a multicloud world. That multicloud world says the customers don’t have one cloud, but in fact in many cases they’re consuming from multiple clouds, whether there [are] SaaS subscription services, application workloads that might be running in a public cloud, applications or workloads that might be running in their private cloud, or …

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