Perhaps it’s just me, but it seems that it is in vogue to root against large and powerful companies like Cisco, Microsoft, Google, Oracle, and more. Looking back through the years, I haven’t always been complimentary of these companies but I’ve tried to remain objective yet present my opinion on their visions, strategies, and execution.
With the release of John Chamber’s memo to Cisco’s employees, Cisco is clearly under the microscope. People are actually calling Cisco “Too Big To Succeed” and pointing towards an impending investor upheaval. Could you imagine these statements made toward GE, Boeing, IBM, Facebook, or Google?
As Jack Welch famously said, “Willingness to change is a strength, even it means plunging part of the company into total confusion for a while.”
Given that the entire world of IT is within a major inflection point, Chamber’s email must be seen as strength not weakness. To respond to this rapid change, Cisco needed to reprioritize and refocus the company ala Google’s reorganization. Furthermore, I’d like to see Chambers firmly take the reigns at Cisco to forcibly guide them through this next phase of technology.
Always remember that Cisco isn’t a “one-hit-wonder” as they have diversified products and services that address consumers, service providers, and enterprise customers. The reality is Cisco plays a vital role within the IT industry and they are re-inventing the company to solve new and complex challenges manifested by this new IT inflection point. Great ideas and execution are not limited to young companies and these companies have much to learn from Cisco.
Finally, rather than focus on Cisco’s reorganization and stagnant stock price, let’s look towards their new products within storage (MDS), switching (Nexus), compute (UCS), and datacenter fabric (FabricPath), as they are revolutionary, disruptive, and competitive. My only suggestion to Cisco is that they need to fill additional product gaps (hardware/software/services) via strategic acquisitions of healthy, growing, and visionary companies.
Competitors beware, as the old proverb goes, “It’s always darkest before the dawn” and Cisco’s got a blazing hot and bright light.