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‘From: No Jitter’

As long as partners are able to evolve to meet
the demands of customers’ digitization initiatives

Cisco held its annual Partners Summit earlier this month in San Francisco, a city known for many things, among which the Gold Rush of 1848 that led to its founding. To me, this makes San Francisco a particularly fitting venue for the event, as Cisco partners now have a Gold Rush opportunity of their own as the world shifts to digital. Digitization should be of keen interesting to Cisco resellers as most of the building blocks of digital transformation are network centric in nature, raising the value of the network, something that was once considered “plumbing.”

The theme of Partners Summit was “full speed,” indicating it was time for Cisco and its channel to step on the gas and go after a number of new opportunities in front of them. However, capturing these opportunities requires a change with Cisco’s partners, as the selling motion around digital trends is quite different than selling boxes and making money racking and stacking equipment. Let’s look at some of the biggest opportunities that lie ahead for Cisco’s channel and what needs to change to capitalize on them.

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Provides a way to assign individual passwords and
unique identifiers to Internet of Things devices,
affording better protection for the corporate network.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a wonderful development. Thanks to IoT mania we have smart buildings, smart cars, smart appliances… smart anything you can think up. Over the next five years we will literally see billions of new devices connected to our networks, allowing us to work, live, and learn in ways previously unimaginable. IoT makes everyone’s life better — unless you’re a network manager.

A recent ZK Research survey found that 50% of network professionals have little to no confidence that they know all of the IoT devices connected to their company networks. I suspect many of the other 50% think they know what devices are network-attached, but actually don’t. Why is this? While IT runs the network, the operational technology (OT) group handles IoT endpoint deployment (see related post, “Don’t Leave IoT to IT“).

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With a new owner and new CEO, change is in the air
at Polycom. Here are three moves I see on the horizon.

Polycom last week held its annual industry analyst and customer events, the first since being acquired by private equity firm Siris Capital Group and bringing on Mary McDowell as CEO. A new owner and CEO can only mean one thing — change is in the air — and the events offered the perfect opportunity for interacting with top customers and executives and coming to an understanding of what Polycom of the future could look like.

Here are three expectations I have for Polycom as it moves forward as a private company:

Alignment with Other Siris Companies

The first and most obvious benefit of private equity ownership is integration with other portfolio companies — most notably in this case, UC&C provider PGi. One of Polycom’s strengths is integrating its solutions with ecosystem partners, and I would expect to see interoperability and possibly joint development between these two companies.

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Cisco acquires Worklife, aims to automate and improve some
of the more manual and boring tasks associated with meetings.

We are rapidly moving into a fully digitized world where everything is connected — at least that’s what we’re told. So why is it that something as simple as a meeting is filled with disjointed processes? Call into this audio bridge, join that Web conference, ask Bill for the meeting notes he took, send a message to Mary to put her documents in Google Drive… but then you find out she’s already put them in Dropbox. Frankly, it’s amazing that we get any work done at all.

Improving this experience and delivering flawless meetings is something that the industry has been working toward. For example, earlier this year Microsoft announced Skype Meeting Rooms (formerly Project Rigel) to bring a unified Skype experience to meetings… assuming people want a Skype experience. (See also, “Join Legacy Video Gear to Skype for Business Online Meetings, Now!“) Microsoft customers can now quickly start meetings without the hassle of needing to invoke multiple systems.

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Microsoft is well positioned to give Amazon a run
for its money in the cloud market, but it needs to
break away from its Microsoft-centric approach.

Seeing as how the cloud has been tied to digital transformation, and seeing as how more businesses are embarking on digital transformation projects, it makes perfect sense to me that cloud has been one of the hot topics at Microsoft’s Ignite conference for enterprise IT, taking place this week in Atlanta. Microsoft has an interesting position in cloud, in that it was simultaneously early and late to the market. In some ways it’s like Schrödinger’s Cloud.

Almost 20 years ago, Microsoft launched Bing, and to support it, the company had to build out a massively scalable, global cloud network. Google had done this with its search platform, and Amazon had done similar to support its e-commerce business. However, Amazon was the only vendor with the foresight to convert their platform into something on which businesses could run workloads. No one really took the cloud seriously a couple of decades ago, and Amazon’s solutions were looked at more as an experiment than as a credible business computing platform. All of the mainstream computing vendors were sitting around trying to figure out whether the cloud was real while Amazon was capturing customers.

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