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Analyst Relations

Years ago I was working for a videoconferencing company in Austin, TX where the CEO had a success quadrant. The ultimate success quadrant focused on getting things done right, the right way. A perfect analogy for how Cisco organized and executed the annual industry analyst gathering called C-Scape in Las Vegas July 11-13.

I work daily with the industry analysts from Gartner, Forrester, IDC, Current Analysis and many other top-flight groups. I acknowledge here and now that industry analysts have a tough job. Analysts are consistently bombarded with information from vendors all demanding attention and seeking the analyst relations “golden ticket” of a positive note, blog, report, or recommendation that the analyst group’s client consider a vendor’s product line.

So, it was nice at C-Scape to see a truly international contingent of industry analysts who were hungry for information and details about Cisco’s technology innovations, products and services. That’s exactly what they got served.

What positively separates C-Scape from many competitors’ analyst conferences is the access. I am talking about access to the highest levels of leadership at Cisco. It starts with John Chambers’ keynote. At his C-Scape keynote Mr. Chambers first proudly pointed out that Cisco is the current market leader in 11 of 17 product categories. He outlined the company’s top 5 priorities including the core router and switch line; communications and collaboration; data center, virtualization and cloud; video, and; architectures. It’s just where you would expect Cisco to lead the industry and Mr. Chambers, and the leadership team, are fully committed to delivering. If you were looking for a bold statement, here’s a direct quote from Mr. Chambers, “Five years from now video will be the primary form of IT.”  Finally, Mr. Chambers delivered this promise, “When problems occur, we’ll be there for you like no other company in the world.”

Analyst access doesn’t stop with Mr. Chambers and his executive team. Another differentiator is the fact that analyst one-on-one sessions with Cisco team members are one hour instead of one-half hour. It enables both the analyst and Cisco to have a full, solid discussion and advice interaction.

As a member of the data center and virtualization team at Cisco I am very proud of the analyst roundtables segment where Cisco data center, Unified Computing Systems, and virtualization leaders meet with groups of analysts for full-on discussions. There was the UCS Futures Roundtable with UCS leaders David Lawler and Satinder Sethi. There was  the roundtable entitled” Data Center Fabric: Unifying Compute, Network, Storage and Virtualization”  featuring vice presidents David Yen, Soni Jiandani and John McCool. There was the  Data Center customer panel entitled “The ROI of Fabric” moderated by Stephanie Carullo and featuring customers Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, Travelport, NASDAQ and the Walz Group. There was the roundtable entitled  “Private Cloud Architectures: The CTO’s Perspective” led by executives Lew Tucker, David Yen and Soni Jiandani.

In addition, analysts got to hear from Dave Evans, Cisco’s Chief Futurist (that’s just about the coolest title in technology) who presented “10 Tech Trends that Will Change the World in the Next 10 Years.”

If you follow Twitter or industry analyst blogs you already know that the feedback was that C-Scape was the strongest and best Cisco analyst conference to date. Frankly that’s very encouraging. For the Unified Computing System (UCS) team, it was another superior opportunity to continue to tell our story about the meteoric rise of UCS over the last two years where we are already number three worldwide in blade  server marketshare. There is much to do yet indeed and UCS has the team to get it done: Done right, the right way.

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