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Interview of Everything: Cisco CEO Chambers on white boxes, SDN, leadership and the cloud

John Gallant | May 6, 2015
Outgoing Cisco CEO John Chambers says Internet of Everything starting to live up to its promise.

With all of that going on, to some extent you can despair for IT because there's so much to do and so much change, whether it's in your thinking or how you deal with the business. The business leaders in your company, the end users, what do they have to do to be successful? What are the elements of successful IT people?

I have some exciting news. IT is back in vogue. If you were to honestly ask CEOs four or five years ago how many of you even use IT to enable your strategy, much less really become dependent upon them, many executives considered IT just an expense item.

Can I push back on you a little bit? People understand the CEOs, and that executive level, certainly understands the power of technology and the need to do everything you're saying. I'm not sure IT is in vogue because I think in a lot of cases, people are looking at IT and saying: "You haven't gotten us there and we really need to get there."

You're baiting me in a fun way, which I accept.

I'm just talking about what we see.

We're seeing it the same way. By IT being back in vogue, the CEO knows they have to become a digital company and a technology company. If you do that, you're going to have to have the capability to deliver on that. The question is do you get that in-house or externally? It's still IT. But the key is whether IT can be fast.


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