Tickets to the Cisco Partner Summit 2019 [i] are highly sought-after within technology circles.....
But Nowcomm’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) James Baly – was invited along to represent Nowcomm – attending the event last week in Las Vegas.
Almost 80% [ii] of Cisco’s revenue comes from partners like Nowcomm. And the event was designed to shine a spotlight on the value of this business model – and how the partnership will continue to anticipate and exceed the needs and expectations of customers – as technology evolves.
Three quick-fire facts about the event:
- Around 2,000 Cisco partners were on-site, and about 10,000 watched it virtually [iii].
- The theme of the event was: ‘Own your edge’, in other words, helping partners to unlock their own differentiation in a crowded marketplace.
- Some of the publicised hot topics included: new technology shifts and how they’ll affect human behaviour; how to help customers through the complex technology transitions they’ll need to make going forward; the accelerated and continued growth in app usage and build; the rapid rise of software; the transformation of the modern workplace; and the untapped potential that lies within the small business market [iv].
The download from James in 60 seconds
Jet-lagged, but fired up – we caught up with James to get the lowdown on what happened, who was there, and what new insights he’ll be sharing with his Nowcomm family.
- So, James – you managed to get an invite to one of the best tech events of the year?
Yes! Only a select number of partners get invited to the Cisco Partner Summit and the number of tickets allocated to the UK is limited.
But, as we’re a Cisco Gold Partner, a Cisco Cloud and Managed Services Master Partner, and a Cisco Master Collaboration Partner – I think they recognise the value in what we do, and see our potential.
- Who’s the most interesting person you bumped into and why?
I met this one guy who was a US Cisco partner. He was doing some really interesting things with mobile technology and biometric analytics. For example, using facial recognition to tell how stressed a person is, or how heavy they’re breathing. Then, using that information, he could identify where that person was and co-ordinate help by sending the most appropriate emergency services to them. Fascinating!
But in general, the event was very well attended by people in top roles at Cisco. So, it was good for me to meet those I hadn’t yet met in person – including the wider Cisco execs from the US and EMEAR.
It was those chance meetings that were interesting. When I was queuing up for lunch, or getting a coffee, or wondering around the partner hub – which was an open forum area where I could go and see some of the technology in action.
Everyone was really open. It wasn’t like some tech events I’ve been to, where you’re mixing with competitors and maybe you don’t want to talk to them because they’re your competitors. At the Cisco Partner Summit, you do want to speak to fellow partners, because you’re all in it together.
- Which speaker were you most inspired by and why?
All the Cisco people were very good speakers.
But beyond the Cisco team, probably the most inspiring speaker for me was Molly Fletcher. If you don’t know her, she was one of the only female sports agents to be operating in a male dominated industry.
She told a very good story – anecdotally – describing some of the negotiations she engaged in on behalf of sports professionals.
She talked about how sometimes, she totally missed the point. That she once believed negotiating was purely a transactional process. She didn’t ask the difficult questions, the emotional questions, the relationship-based questions – and as a result, deals fell through.
Her key point is this: ask for what you want, not what you think you can get. And that’s a relevant lesson for what we do today.
- Describe one of the things you’ve reflected on since the event.
The Managed Service Provider (MSP) market is growing enormously. And what was interesting to hear, is that customers are looking to deal with an MSP that takes their own security very seriously – which we absolutely do.
The secure supply chain is critical now and businesses can’t afford for MSPs to be vulnerable. But Cisco announced some interesting portfolio additions to allow MSPs to better secure their own businesses.
- How do/will Nowcomm ‘Own their edge’?
Always making sure we’re always easy to business with, is a priority for us at Nowcomm.
There was a huge emphasis on customer experience at the event – or “CX” as Cisco called it. It’s pretty important and demands providing a good customer experience to our own customers – which is our number one priority anyhow – and helping our clients with their customer experience offering too.
I think it’s also important to focus on having a lifecycle advisory role. That means, being advisors during the entire lifecycle of a product or solution – and making sure clients are getting the best from everything they’re sold, not just 20% of its value.
The event also reminded the partners that we should never underestimate the lucrative small business market. Cisco now have a great portfolio of offerings that give small businesses the same technology and tools that very large businesses enjoy. But we need to bundle them up, to make it easy for small businesses to consume them. Taking away the complexity, making it simpler. We’re lucky enough in that we can do that.
- Finally, sum up the event for us in just three words.
Engaging. Enlightening. Inspiring.
Cisco put on a very slick event for their partners and looked after us well.
They delivered a top-notch partner experience. From the quality of the AV, to the enthusiastic people who made sure I didn’t get lost – it all made for an enjoyable and stress-free event.
The diversity on-site, the CEO making time to speak to partners, the openness of everyone – you can see why it’s ranked as one of the greatest places to work.
Find out how Nowcomm can help you transform the service you give to your own customers – with Cisco technology. Contact us today.
[ii] Cisco LinkedIn video with Chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins.
[iii] Cisco LinkedIn video with Chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins.