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Chambers: Cisco will become the number 1 IT company

John Gallant | July 23, 2013
Cisco boss talks about how SDN fits into its architecture, what Insieme is all about and why the Internet of Everything matters to IT pros.

You mention a lot of big trends there between Internet of Everything and cloud and SDN. What's the key takeaway for these IT shops, the IT leaders?
They're two-fold. First of all, in an IT environment, if you're being measured by your expenses and OPEX, as opposed to what business results you're producing for your company, you're going to be playing defense the rest of your career. It's how you say: Here are the top objectives of the company and here's the way I can accomplish those and the ways I just cannot. This is where the business units begin to make the decision in partnership with IT. I would argue in talking to CIOs that if 80% or 90% of the decisions are largely influenced outside of the IT department, the IT departments fail. This is where we've got to move from discussing concepts that are exciting to us like getting server combinations with storage, with switching, with LAN, to clouds or mobility or others, and translate it through. It's about speed of revenue generation, it's about how quickly we can turn on services, it's about your customer differentiation, it's about productivity, it's about new business models and enabling those. I believe the [IT] companies who can really help in a strategic way, help their customers truly achieve their goals, will be those who grow and survive, and those that do not will fall behind.

Most of my CIOs I talk to don't think that major high-tech companies provide a major strategic value to them. If they're being real candid, they say maybe one or two. When you challenge them about can we become No.1, I say if not Cisco, who? And you get candid recognition that there is not a good player in position to lead this other than Cisco, if we execute it right. Now this is a big jump for us. So it comes all the way around. If you're clearly talking about OPEX and CAPEX, you're going to be having your budget cut or held stable for the next, definitely, two years, and depending on the economy, maybe beyond. If you're talking about complete alignment with the business goals in the company and the business units and your ability to help them achieve [business goals] it's a whole different discussion.

What would you say are the critical elements for Cisco in becoming that No.1 provider?
Managing the market transition. Those areas like everything moving to IP, Internet of Everything, a transition where many people think the data center and the cloud and the LAN are separate, but we believe it will be a total architecture. I might put that as a whole separate point, even though it's part of the market transition. We think there will be a single architecture, a single approach in the data center that combines routing and switching and storage and software and server technology and that will go straight up into the cloud, with intelligence throughout on the net.


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