Don’t we all wish we could enter the new year looking a little bit like Cisco after the two-year makeover the company enjoyed under CEO Chuck Robbins? Not only is the stock up $15 since January 2016, but Cisco also managed to redefine its priorities and embrace change in a transformative way – all without going private.
Robbins’ influence on Cisco can be seen in a number of ways.
First and foremost, the company prioritizes its customers over itself. This idea may sound obvious, but it’s surprisingly tricky for a tech company of this size to commit to such an ideal. Cisco may be known for making the most of market transitions, but it has sometimes resisted technology shifts it wasn’t ready for, even if the customer was.
Acquisitions with the Cloud and AI in Mind
Cisco has been buying up a storm. By a storm, we mean 16 companies in the past two years alone. With exploding purchasing comes explosive growth as Cisco bought companies specializing in Cloud, machine learning, and security.
Some of these investments are part of a larger plan to get Cisco actively involved in the development and exploration of AI technology, with the acquisitions of companies like MindMeld, Saggezza, and AppDynamics. The company unveiled some of its plans involving AI at its Advanced Technology Fair last November.
Cisco also begun focusing on cloud-based solutions and redefining itself as a cloud-first company. Its next-generation solutions and a substantial number of its products, like ACI, are focused on the public and/or private Cloud.
Cisco has come a long way, especially under Robbins’ watch. What’s next for Cisco in 2018? We’ll have to wait and find out.