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To boldly go

To boldly go 

Held at the Palais des congrès in the heart of downtown Montreal, the event welcomed thousands of Cisco’s channel partners from around the globe for a discussion about why the time for businesses to transition to join the digital revolution is now.

“I truly think that this next year will be an inflection point for where every company becomes a digital company,” said Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers during his keynote address.

Answering the call to digitize themselves is becoming crucial for enterprises, so much so that if they wait or fail to do so, there could be serious consequences in the future.

“CEOs are realizing that there is a downside,” said Chambers. “If they don’t transform themselves, they will be left behind.”

Chambers also revealed a key statistic during his address – 40 per cent of enterprises around the world will cease to exist within the next decade because of the impending digital disruption. Additionally, 75 per cent of businesses will become digital within in the next five years.

This disruption seeks to create an immediate impact, enabling businesses to embrace digital processes and use them to their advantage. But as he later explained, the business structure isn’t the only element that needs to adapt to these changes.

“The CEOs of today are under more pressure than (we’ve) ever seen before. You have to design your organization differently (and) you have to change the CEO in terms of his or her capability to think exponentially,” Chambers said.

Making changes is a constant in corporate spheres, but it’s how fast these changes can be implemented that serves as the true measuring stick of success. Chambers stressed that in today’s market, it’s important to develop a business that is based on speed.

“If you don’t move with speed exponentially to stay ahead of your peers, and your competitors do, you’re out of business within two to five years; it will be that brutal,” he said. “Every CEO is beginning to realize that in this industry. (They) know about speed and the speed of results. The speed of innovation is the number one factor for CEOs.”

In the race to help their partners remain profitable and gain and retain market share, Cisco developed the concept of “Fast IT.” This concept is “based on architecture, infrastructure, anticipating where markets are going, and delivering that with the speed that allows us to overtake our competitors,” said Chambers. “This is the game we’re in together.”

Aside from increasing their speed and agility within the marketplace, businesses also must rethink how they deal with their customers. As Chambers explained, the key to maintaining a strong relationship with them is by learning to speak “the language of the customer.”

“The ability for us to speak the language of our customers and then be able to deliver on it to where if we do this right on a physical or virtual basis, you can increase the market basket size when a customer shops with them by 15 to 30 per cent,” he said. “You can completely change the customer’s experience if this occurs.”

The rise of the Internet of Things has already made much of this possible, but Cisco plans to take this a step further with the Internet of Everything. IoE expands upon the concept of IoT by developing networked connections of people, data, processes and objects, while integrating IoT into its inner workings.

But IoE isn’t just about connectivity. As Chambers notes, “It’s about connecting every single point, be it the right information at the right time, the right machine or the right person.”

Having these new tools in their tool belts and integrating them into their operations will enable the IT channel to undergo extensive growth, moving forward.

“What I believe is that there’s going to be explosive growth for the elements of the industry, centered around the network,” Chambers said. “There will be business transformation like we’ve never seen before, and $19 trillion in (potential value) available.”

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