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New Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins heads into "hyper-connected" mode

John Gallant | July 27, 2015
Robbins takes over at Cisco for John Chambers this Monday, promoting a hyper-connected architecture in the face of competition from white box makers and SDN proponents.

One of the things we're seeing is companies encouraging innovation in the customer or partner base through open platforms, whether that's IBM with Watson and the Bluemix platform or Salesforce.com with Force.com. Are there ways that Cisco can capitalize on that?

Look at what we've done already with our collaboration portfolio. We made the acquisition of Tropo, which is a key asset that helps us expose our collaboration portfolio through APIs. We have a very active ecosystem that is writing applications that call the collaboration processes in the application. We announced our IoT platform, IOx, that gives applications the ability to write to the infrastructure. As we build out our programmability capability with ACI and our enterprise networking capabilities, we'll expose those to application developers as well.

You've made a number of acquisitions in security and there's been a lot of internal development. What's missing? Where o you still need to go in security?

It's a very large market and depending on whose numbers you look at, we have probably between 7-10% [market share] and we're number one. There's a lot of opportunity to expand our footprint. The biggest issue today is that customers, on average, have 45-50 security vendors, so it's logical that you're only as safe as your weakest point. We believe customers are going to begin to look at this much more architecturally. We already see it happening. Think about what I just described with the architecture we can build. And, by the way, it will not be a closed Cisco architecture. We're not that naïve. We'll build it and we believe that we'll do it better than anybody else, but -- and we've shown this with ACI - we will open up and apply policy against a set of standards as well, which is what our customers want us to do.

I wanted to go back to the comment you made about the Flip business. When you look back at things that Cisco has done wrong, is there a common theme? Is there something that led you astray, whether it's the Cius tablet or Flip cameras or whatever you consider to be missteps in the past.

If you step back to the notion that, fundamentally, our company has been built off this notion of convergence and then value on top of that convergence, you could say some of those we either didn't converge quickly enough or they weren't closely enough aligned to our core capabilities. Where we identify opportunities that are tight adjacencies that truly derive value from becoming part of the IP infrastructure, that's our sweet spot. That's what ACI is, bringing the application in. That's what IoT -- IoE digitization are. That's why I believe those are tremendous opportunities for us in the future.

 

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