Cisco: The Network Has Become The Platform

To succeed in the rapidly evolving technology world, Cisco Systems president and CEO John Chambers said you need to place your bets on where the market is going five years ahead of time, and change your company to be there when that future arrives.

Over five years ago Cisco bet the network would become the platform, and Chambers used his keynote address at the company’s 2006 Partner Summit in San Diego last week to tell the over 2,200 partners on hand that future is here today.

In the last four to six months, Chambers said Cisco has seen customers beginning to buy into the idea of the network moving from a transport system to the platform that can run applications.

The convergence trend is bringing data, voice and video, plus mobile and fixed security, together on the IP network, said Chambers, adding Cisco is positioned to lead the market and the company’s competitors will have no choice but to get onboard.
Chambers is predicting a round of “probably brutal” consolidation over the next two years as competitors look to expand their offerings to fit the “network as the platform” vision.

The challenge for Cisco’s partners, said Chambers, will be to make the technology relevant to their customers. He recommends partners use the technology themselves to prove the benefits, adding that merely installing the technology won’t lead to productivity improvements. Helping Cisco partners go after the services market has been a focus of the conference.
“If you don’t change the underlying processes you don’t get the productivity improvements,” said Chambers.

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