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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.

There's a lot going on at Cisco, whether it's around Internet-of-everything or security, analytics, servers, SDN, etc. How do you get people to understand this larger message around digital transformation? How do you get them to understand how all the piece parts come together?

There are a couple of discussions. The first discussion is typically with the CEO or the head of a country and it's about understanding the real value of the technology and what it can do - whether that's GDP or job creation or inclusion of minorities or whatever their priorities are. Their priorities become our priorities and we talk about how technology can help achieve them. Then you move to the next level of 'why Cisco?' and what do we see happening with the next-generation technology architecture. For 50 years we've had data centers and we brought data to them to be processed. Over the next two to three years we're going to build these hyper-distributed architectures because the data is going to be pervasive everywhere. The value that's going to be derived by the organization is going to come from insights from that data. We're going to build this hyper-distributed architecture inclusive of public cloud, private cloud, that takes the processing power and the technology assets to the data because by the time you move data to a central location, process it, drive analytics on it, there's a high likelihood you've lost the value of the information anyway. We believe that this hyper-distributed technology architecture is going to be required to see the benefit of all the Internet-of-everything and digitization in the first place. This intelligent infrastructure, the intelligent network that we have, is the way to enable all of that. It will comprise automation, analytics - there's a lot of analytics the network can provide - and security as well. We believe it will be this hyper-distributed mode.

I want to specifically ask you about Internet-of-everything as part of this larger equation. Do you think IT understands that it is something that IT should be driving or leading?

I think they're beginning to. When we've had conversations with both the CIOs and the CEOs over the last six months, we see this emerging trend. We've seen convergence over the last 30 years, but the technology convergence is typically the easy part. It's the cultural and organizational changes that have to take place that are really the complex ones. Back in the days when we converged SNA traffic to IP you had the IBM teams and you had the network teams. Then we did it with voice and you had the TDM voice guys and the IP guys. What we see now is this real desire to pull the operational and the IT organizations together because they know that's the only way this is going to work. I've seen so many customers here, even in the last month, that have had a combination of IT and the business units here together to work on some of these ideation opportunities.

 

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