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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.

We'll talk about where you think you need to act with greater speed, but at a higher level what do you want customers to understand about this leadership transition and the future of Cisco under your leadership?

In the last six weeks [since the CEO transition was announced], we have been around the world and we've sat down with country leaders in India and France and the UK. We've met with leaders in China, leaders in Germany, leaders in Italy. We have had Fortune 500 company after company coming through here to talk to us about how we can help them leverage technology to fundamentally define the future strategy of their businesses. The vision we have around what's going to happen relative to IoE [Internet of Everything], IoT, the whole notion of digitizing business, is very accurate. I believe that our strategy for [making] that happen is also very accurate. We need to prioritize the things that are going to matter in our ability to help customers deliver that over the next two to three years - prioritize and accelerate those areas. With the speed we want to move at, we have to drive a greater degree of clarity and simplification in our internal communication, our external communication and how we're going to help our customers achieve that.

We have driven a level of operational rigor here that's fairly unprecedented. We've added $5.4 billion of revenue over the last four years and we've only added $400 million of expense. [We need] to look at our operational capabilities on a quarter-by-quarter because I think the business is moving so rapidly that annual processes are almost too slow. We have to look quarter-by-quarter, not at our strategy, but how we're managing the business effectively.

Also, [we need to pay attention to] our culture, and it's not just our internal culture. I [want] Cisco to be viewed as having the most innovative workforce experience in tech or in corporate America. We've got a lot of things we're thinking about as to how to do that. But I think where it really manifests itself is in our relationship with our partners because the way we treat our employees and the way we treat each other internally is how we end up treating our partners. We treat our partners the way we would like to be treated. We treat our customers the way we would like to be treated and it creates a high degree of value in our relationships. Ultimately, I want that to manifest itself in our customers - whether that's a country, a city, a company - believing that we are the best partner to help them move down this digitization path.

 

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