Cisco kicked off its annual Cisco Live event today in Las Vegas, bringing in an estimated 28,000 customers and partners to talk and learn about the latest and greatest that Cisco has to offer.
Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins provides some insight to the assembled audience in his opening keynote about the direction that Cisco is going and made some announcement about new products as well.
Robbins emphasized that in order to effect real transformational change in an organization there has to buy-in from the top of the organization.
"You have to have sponsorship at the top," Robbins said. "Someone that can see what opportunities might exist.
Robbins added that its important to understand how technology changes the business and what the real impact it has on improving business outcomes.
"It's no just tech innovation, it's business innovation and disrupting ourselves, that's what's needed to be successful," Robbins said.
Robbins said that there is a fundamental need for organizations to build a digital-ready network that can meet the needs of today and tomorrow. At the heart is a network that can provide analytics, can automate actions and that is secured. Collaboration is also a key part of the overall Cisco story.
"If we're going to get things connected perhaps first we should get people connected and leverage capabilities to make our people more effective," Robbin said. "I think thats fundamental.
Additionally Robbins also addressed the need to have both hardware and software.
"I don't think you can replace all the high powered performance gear that enables the Internet with just software," Robbins said. "It's a balance."
Cisco is also continuing to balance its own organic research and develop with an aggressive strategy of acquisitions as well. Robbins said that Cisco spends almost $6 billion a year in research and development including cloud, security network and analytics. Since May 2015 when Robbins became CEO, Cisco has acquired 15 companies, with the most recent one being CloudLock last month.
"Our acquisition strategy is key to our ability to innovate," Robbins said.
From a new product perspective, Robbins used his time on stage to announce the new Cisco Cloud Defence Orchestrator platform. The new technology is a cloud based portal that pulls policy in across a distributed organization and helps to rationalize and enforce it. The basic goal is to have consistent security management from the cloud.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist