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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.

You've talked about two core things, speed and simplification. Where do you need to move faster?


Well, you own it as of today and some parts of it are working really well and I'm sure there are some parts you want to fix, things where you want to see Cisco move faster. Where does Cisco need to move faster?

I say everywhere somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but there's also a bit of truth to it. There are a couple of reasons that I moved so quickly on announcing the first wave of the organization. Number one, we had made the decisions and I committed to our teams that we would drive a greater level of transparency inside the organization. I think we move faster when people have the information. Once the information is known, if we can share it we should. We knew what we were going to do and I wanted to send a signal to the teams that we are going to make the decisions more rapidly.

We need to move faster across every piece of our business. We've already begun the process. Look at what Pankaj [Patel, EVP and Chief Development Officer] has done in engineering. He's created a lot of small teams that can move faster and they are driving pure innovation projects as opposed to worrying about ongoing support, as an example, of different products. We've got our sales organization moving more rapidly towards being able to engage in a deep business discussion with our customers. We need to move faster in connecting the technology to the business value we talk about. In our services organization we need to move faster to deliver services around the business outcome that is desired. As an example, financial institutions want to deploy a remote expert solution to deliver a mortgage specialist from a central location out to each of their branches. The team is working on having services around that solution. We have to move faster across all those to be ready for that. Then I think that we need to just do what we've always done, which is listen deeply to our customers and then have our organization aligned so that information leads us to a decision, we make it and we move.

Are there specific markets or tech segments where you feel Cisco needs to move more quickly?

If I think about that architecture that I described to you earlier, some of the key areas we need to focus on are accelerating the automation of programmability of the entire network, unleashing the analytics that are of value that exist within the network today. That can then be combined with analytics from Accenture and we've got some great capabilities there. I think we need to accelerate the security architecture and our teams have done a tremendous job. The Sourcefire acquisition has been great. We believe the OpenDNS acquisition is going to be really key to us and you're going to see us focus on accelerating that.


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