Echoing a growing theme in the industry, Cisco CEO John Chambers has called for the channel to grasp hold of transformational technology in order to lead new markets when the upturn comes.
"Most people now think the upturn will come sometime early next calendar year," he said. "[The question is] whether we can see sustained global growth without a US recovery."
Speaking on the last day of Cisco's 2009 Partner Summit in Boston, Chambers forecast that 90% of the load on the Internet will be video traffic at some point in the next decade, and said the industry was reaching a tipping point.
"Customers are saying that Cisco and you [Cisco partners] have got it exactly right on Web 2.0. [They] now realise that it's a core competency. I don't know what caused it to change, but it's moved away from experimentation," he said.
Senior vice president of worldwide operations Rob Lloyd also vowed to start "punching back" against criticism of the vendor.
"We've taken too many punches in the market without hitting back," he said, telling partners Cisco would commit itself to helping them explain why customers should avoid HP ProCurve.
Cisco has used its three-day event this week to push a series of new strategies around inter-partner collaboration and a shift towards all-encompassing network architectures, all designed to reinforce the position of its channel partners and help them get closer to their customer base.
Affiniti UK technology head Dave Burns told MicroScope that Cisco's new initiatives around financing, product lifecycle management and training would help, but added that resellers also needed to stick to their customer base like glue.
"Standing by your installed base is part of positioning ourselves for the upturn," he said. "I believe the vast majority of customers have long memories, so by using the practices we've been talking about, we're already planning for it."