It is great when the chief sales guy feels pretty good about the innovation a company delivers enough to blog about it. It gets even better when customers feel good about the innovation and value that a company like Cisco brings, to get up in front of the camera and share the benefits they are deriving.
Such customer confidence comes from trust. In the case of Cisco, we have earned this trust over decades, providing our customers not just with the best networking technology but by providing the right support model, the lowest TCO and simply the best investment protection in the industry.
This has been borne out many times even as we’ve led numerous industry transitions – from enabling the ubiquity of Ethernet and IP; driving the voice, video and data inflection points, and the more recent trends around data center, virtualization and cloud.
Speaking of inflection points – over the past three years – we are leading perhaps the biggest networking transition in history, as we introduce the Nexus switching and NX-OS platforms into the data center and make it a foundational element for fabric-based infrastructure. In just over three years, we have over 19,000 NX-OS based customers with a sustained #1 market leadership across a variety of categories including revenue and port share. As the chart below depicts, we’re nearly 3X the 10GbE revenue of all our competitors combined! The 10GbE port shipments are equally strong compared to the rest of the industry.
Needless to say, all this has made the job for our competition much harder; to keep up with Cisco’s pace of innovation has not been an easy task.
Shifting gears to competition, historically, while we have never shied away from competing hard, we have usually avoided taking competitive names and preferred to stay laser-focused on execution instead. Our customers and our sales force have genuinly appreciated this.
Our competitors however, have not been as appreciative, and have not hesitated in taking advantage of our low competitive profile. Over the years we have endured tasteless cartoons (some of them were funny :-)), dealt with rock-bottom pricing attacks to get a foot in the door, and faced guerilla tactics from one vendor or another (and sometimes from all of them at the same time). Often, our competitors spend more time trying to take down Cisco in front of customers, rather than showing how they bring differentiated value. As a result, we have largely chosen to ignore these tactics.
But our competitors have used our silence as an excuse to make taller promises, even when they have faltered to deliver and chosen to put together campaigns that confuse some of our customers, and the industry at large. We had a choice –either to speak up and end the charade, or, be silent and help foster the perception that what they’re stating is the truth. As silence implies acceptance, we’ve chosen to speak up instead. Some have been surprised that we chose to speak up. Some by the manner in which we did. But few disputed the facts. And that is important. As Rob Lloyd said, we’re not perfect and we’re learning.
Clearing the air aside, we’re continuing to out-innovate others, and not losing our customer focus. Our fabric strategy is getting widespread endorsement and tremendous customer traction. Analysts and customers acknowledge that we are a few years ahead of the competition, and have done the best job in bringing together the network, compute, storage and application elements to weave our fabric offering.
And we’re not standing still. Cisco is going to raise the bar again, even as we encourage our competitors to “think outside of the box”.
To see how all of this comes together, please join us on October 25th, 2011 as we host our data center event – “Evolutionary Fabric, Revolutionary Scale – bringing our customers, leading industry analysts and top Cisco executives onto a common platform to share new fabric innovations and benefits.
Let others continue to make promises. We’ll deliver.