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Cisco CEO talks about the three “S’s”

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins with the new president of Cisco Canada Rola Dagher at the Cisco Connect Toronto show

TORONTO – Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins was in Canada last week doing a keynote address at the Cisco Connect show and revealed three big issues for the channel: Scale, Simplicity and Security.

The three “S” for Robbins is about the complexity that is currently challenging the channel partners not just in Canada and the U.S. but the entire world.

According to Robbins, there will be approximately 8.4 billion things on the network by the end of the year. Of those things, three billion of them will be used by businesses. Just to makes things a bit harder, expect to see one million new connections per hour on the Web.

Robbins sited an IDC study that reported by 2020 there will be one million new connections on the Internet every hour.

“My view is this if they are 50 per cent wrong we still have a lot of work to do just to get ready. This is a massive challenge. We have to manage that; or at least your portion of that,” Robbins said.

He doesn’t believe the strategy and techniques used in the past or even today will be effective in the near future.

“Complexity is the enemy. But, at Cisco we thrive on complexity. We have a culture where if you have the most complex PowerPoint presentation then the smarter you must be,” he added.

But Robbins suggested in his keynote that smart people can also simplify what is complex. He believes this approach is necessary to be successful and you also must have speed to market.

Complicating matters is security. Since Robbins has taken over from John Chambers in the corner office at San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco he has made security a top priority at the company. At the Cisco Connect Toronto show, he said the networking giant is starting with security and not ending with it.

“You don’t build a house and put the locks in a month later,” Robbins said.

The market opportunity for the channel is massive because technology is now at the heart of every strategy from every major organization in the world be it a city, a country, or in healthcare; technology is driving the strategy, Robbins said.

Sometimes the most complicated part is where to start, he told a packed audience at the Toronto Congress Centre. Certainly, data can provide the insights for producing the right outcome, but there is so much data whether its structured or unstructured that the right starting point can be difficult to pinpoint.

Channel partners will be asked to not only bring workloads to the cloud, but also connect vehicles, tanks, elevators, vending machines and other things. “But do they know how to architect it all? We have to figure this all out.”

The good news for Cisco channel partners is they will have “job security for a long time” because the opportunity is in figuring it out. Robbins said it’s going to be tough and in order to do it successfully the channel will have to look at things differently.

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