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Cisco Partner Summit 2023: AI, Security, and Observability Shine

Cisco Partner Summit 2023: AI, Security, and Observability Shine

The News: Cisco Partner Summit 2023 brought together thousands of Cisco partners from around the world to network, learn, and celebrate their shared successes with Cisco. Around 90% of Cisco’s revenue flows through Cisco’s partners, represented by tens of thousands of organizations from more than 150 countries. Read the full press release on the Cisco website.

Cisco Partner Summit 2023: AI, Security, and Observability Shine

Analyst Take: Cisco Partner Summit 2023 highlighted the company’s ongoing strategic commitment to work with its partners to drive innovation and joint profitability. The event serves as a platform for Cisco to foster collaboration, share insights, and bolster bonds with the company’s partners with the goal of shaping the future of digital transformation and creating greater value for organizations across industries and geographies.

Cisco highlighted its collaboration with partners to drive AI, security, and observability innovations as well as shape the technological shifts across 5G, cloud, applications, and sustainability. Specifically, Cisco spotlighted its AI, security, and observability partnership initiatives highlighted below.

Cisco Validated Designs for AI

Cisco is working with strategic partners, such as NVIDIA, Intel, AMD, NetApp, Nutanix, Pure Storage, and Red Hat, on Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs) for AI use cases. Cisco is promoting that these solutions build on the track record of proven capabilities and existing IT processes, aiding the acceleration of customer AI journeys while avoiding unnecessary risk or new silos of operations, especially in supporting IT teams at preparing their infrastructure for AI-readiness.

New Observability Ecosystem for Partners

Cisco identifies that development partners are seeing definitive business value in the Cisco Observability Platform and are building modules focused on five critical areas: Business Insights, SAP Visibility, Networking, MLOps and Service Level Objectives (SLOs), and Sustainability. Accordingly, this new evolving observability ecosystem is aiding customers in meeting their specific observability requirements, cultivating an environment where they can get value from observable telemetry.

Naturally, I anticipate that the recent Splunk acquisition will eventually have a direct bearing on the portfolio development of the Cisco Observability Platform. Within the observability market, Cisco has real work to do when it comes to product integration of the Splunk assets and developing a solid roadmap. For instance, the ThousandEyes, App Dynamics, and Splunk Observability cloud will take skillful product management to craft together into a cohesive product roadmap that services the cloud and on-premises needs of both the Cisco and Splunk channels and customer bases. I expect this integration strategy will be the top priority work item in the clean room over the next three to four quarters, and I fully expect Cisco to come out with a solid roadmap soon after the acquisition closes if the company does not tease it beforehand.

In accordance with the five new focus areas, Cisco announced seven new modules on the Cisco Observability Platform, built by development partners and created to expand its full-stack observability ecosystem. This growing ecosystem helps customers fulfill their specific observability needs and utilize additional value from observable telemetry. The seven new modules consist of:

  • CloudFabrix – SAP Observability
  • CloudFabrix – Campus Analytics
  • Evolutio – Claims
  • Evolutio – eCommerce
  • DataRobot – MLOps by Evolutio
  • Nobl9 – SLO
  • Climatiq – Cloud Carbon Insights

New Cisco Security Suites

Cisco introduced new Security Suites to provide a more integrated, predictable, and economical approach to buy and consume Cisco’s portfolio of security products. The suites center on three use cases – user, cloud, and breach protection. They are developed to improve security efficacy, improve the user experience, and boost ROI as well as work across multiple clouds and private infrastructure and interoperate with other systems and tools.

I see the Partner Summit further crystallizing Cisco’s portfolio strengths across the AI, observability, and security realms. For years, Cisco has invested in AI/machine learning (ML) technology to augment its Security Cloud vision by simplifying operations and is now delivering generative AI capabilities to streamline policy management and improve threat response.

From my perspective, Cisco is directly addressing the topmost security concerns of enterprise IT decision makers by designing Cisco Secure Access to provide swifter detection and response, single cloud-managed console, and common access experience capabilities. Notably, Cisco collaborated with Apple to incorporate Zero Trust Access (ZTA) powered by Cisco Secure Access into a native experience on iOS and macOS, making secure access to applications universal while making it easier for IT to implement as well as more secure for all users.

Now Cisco will leverage a generative AI Policy Assistant to enable security and IT administrators to describe granular security policies and evaluate how to optimize their implementation across multiple aspects of their security infrastructure. Plus, a key attribute of the Cisco Observability Platform is the single platform approach that is AI/ML-driven, unified, open, and extensible. This approach shows how Cisco’s AI, security, and observability portfolio assets can come together to improve partner propositions with partners and across a multitude of channels.

Channel Boosters Include PXP Enhancements and Sustainability Estimator

Of key importance, Cisco unveiled several enhancements to the Partner Experience Platform (PXP), a personalized online portal to support partners’ productivity, competitiveness, profitability, and go-to-market strategies. In my assessment, Cisco further burnished its channel acumen by augmenting PXP with AI/ML-powered predictive insights that can guide partners in ways to differentiate and grow their business. These enhancements are complemented by a revamped dashboard that provides a holistic view of funds activities and investments, removing the need for costly third-party tools.

PXP will also see the introduction of a Sustainability Estimator, exclusively available to Environmental Sustainability Specialized partners. Launching on November 20, the Sustainability Estimator will provide partners insight into the estimated energy savings, emissions reduction, cost reduction, and environmental impact that a customer can realize by modernizing their IT hardware. The tool is also supported by a new Sustainability Partner Journey with resources and collateral to help partners build their sustainability practices. I find that the launch of the Sustainability Estimator is a shrewd move as it directly bolsters Cisco’s channel partners to play an integral role in ensuring that customers fulfill their sustainability objectives, which have increasingly become top-tier priorities throughout organization decision-making globally.

Key Takeaway: Cisco Partner Summit 2023 Sharpens Overall Messaging

Taken together, I believe the Cisco Partner Summit sharpened its messaging across the three key portfolio themes of AI, observability, and security, including updates that specifically addressed the top priorities of its channel partners as well as how the three technology areas interrelate to improve Cisco’s solutions across the global digital ecosystem. Now Cisco and its partners are better positioned to collectively assist customers in attaining their business objectives and improving their business outcomes.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

Other insights from The Futurum Group:

Cisco Live 2023: Cisco Launches AI-Powered Security Cloud to Empower Enterprise Security Teams

Cisco Q4 and FY 2023: AI, Security, and Cloud Fuel Milestone Results

Cisco’s Strategic Move: The $28 Billion Splunk Acquisition Unpacked

Author Information

Ron is an experienced, customer-focused research expert and analyst, with over 20 years of experience in the digital and IT transformation markets, working with businesses to drive consistent revenue and sales growth.

He is a recognized authority at tracking the evolution of and identifying the key disruptive trends within the service enablement ecosystem, including a wide range of topics across software and services, infrastructure, 5G communications, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), analytics, security, cloud computing, revenue management, and regulatory issues.

Prior to his work with The Futurum Group, Ron worked with GlobalData Technology creating syndicated and custom research across a wide variety of technical fields. His work with Current Analysis focused on the broadband and service provider infrastructure markets.

Ron holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy from University of Nevada — Las Vegas and a Bachelor of Arts in political science/government from William and Mary.


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