Cisco, the Silicon Valley–based technology company, is racing toward its goal of becoming the business partner for all executives and organizations seeking to digitize their operations and capture the opportunities presented by the Internet of Things (IoT). It is evolving its own operations in order to better serve its customers’ increasingly complex needs, while preparing for the next wave of innovation by streamlining its services.
Given that much of the early IoT traffic will run through its systems, Cisco is poised to be a critical IoT player. Its credibility in this emerging space is making the company a sought-after partner—particularly for those businesses that are looking to bring new systems online and do more with the data those systems create.
With new leadership in place, capitalizing on this opportunity seems possible. Chuck Robbins, former SVP of Worldwide Operations, took over for 20-year CEO John Chambers in July 2015 and has imparted a fresh focus on simplicity and speed. And a company like Cisco must be nimble in order to be quick, so Robbins has introduced new management and smaller teams to invite diverse perspectives—all of which allow Cisco to react faster to customers’ needs. As part of his efforts to streamline, Robbins sold off the company’s video set-top box hardware line to Technicolor for USD $600 million and discontinued Invicta, its flash storage
Cisco continues to invest in developing new generations of networking hardware, betting that it can stay ahead of cheaper, off-the-shelf “white box” offerings by providing higher performance and more capable systems, powered by its in-house chip development team.
Meanwhile, the company is diversifying beyond its hardware businesses, adding new cloud-based services that increase the value it delivers to business customers. It’s becoming the go-to solution for businesses looking to go fully digital, with the creation of hyper-distributed technology architectures that encompass automation, data analytics, security, and collaboration, as well as communications tools and applications.
True customer care comes from within, according to Cisco’s new CEO. Robbins promotes a company culture rooted in clear communications and mutual respect. “We treat our customers the way we would like to be treated and it creates a high degree of value in our relationships,” he recently stated. He also noted that he wants “customers believing that [Cisco is] the partner that helps them build their digital strategy.”