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Cisco CEO in The Economist: “Our pieces are all tied to the network”

In this week’s print edition, The Economist focuses on Cisco as part of a package on why ‘Big is back.’ An interesting and intelligent read, what I like best about the story is it’s clear look at how Cisco focuses on two things with near maniacal focus -- innovation and operational excellence. The story takes deep look at Cisco, both at the market adjacencies we aim to serve and how we are organizing the company. It makes clear what we know -- it’s tough and a work in progress -- while making clear also that in order to succeed, change is the only constant.The piece states that moving into new areas for Cisco “are best seen as a portfolio of business bets, much like those of diversified companies such as 3M and General Electric (GE). Yet Mr Chambers is keen to point out how Cisco’s collection is different. “GE’s is comprised of individual pieces. The light-bulb group doesn’t tie into the jet-engine group,” he explains. “Our pieces are all tied to the network.”The closing paragraph best sums up the article:

“Given its track record with other institutional innovations such as acquisitions and outsourcing, Cisco has a good chance of coming to exemplify a new world of “co-ordinate and cultivate” in the same way that GE stood for “command and control”. If this does not come to pass, it will not have been for want of ambition. After all, Mr Chambers’s goal, as he recently put it, is nothing less than for Cisco to become “the best company in the world”.

We are obviously pleased that there is a lot of interest in what we are doing at Cisco and strive every day to listen to customers and deliver the best possible technology and innovation that we can. We’d love to listen to you too…what’s your perspective?

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23 Comments.


  1. Marc Musgrove

    You can also listen to the article as an audio feature here on the Economist website (under Editor’s highlights): http://bit.ly/2tNketAlternatively, you can download it here as an mp4 if you are an Economist subscriber:http://www.economist.com/audioedition/

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  2. thanks for this post sir. I’ll try to download the video. :-)

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  3. wew, great this article… thanks for sharing . .

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  4. Marc Musgrove

    There’s actually a link to the downloadable version of the podcast on ITunes here which doesn’t need a subscription: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=313848583&uo=6

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  5. Its not everyday we can balance innovation and quality control. I think cisco did a great job so far

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  6. Great post as always, I always wonder how you guys write the best articles every time , And audio version of article is great

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  7. He makes a good point about being diversified but also connected and interactive at the same time. Thanks for the post, I love The Economist!Alex,Vom Bullenfeld German Rottweilers

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  8. The economist featured a great company in the name of Cisco. It is very interesting to read and learn how the big company strives to innovate and gain success infront of competitors.

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  9. I like your article very much, however I was asking myself…what is more relevant to costumers: innovation or operational excellence?

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  10. I read the article a short while back. Very intelligent piece and i certainly wouldn’t bet against Cisco doing what they say. They have talented management and a very strong market position.

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  11. Great article…i’m grabbing the podcast now. I like the comparison between GE & Cisco, big shoes to fill for sure!

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  12. The story takes deep look at Cisco, both at the market adjacencies we aim to serve and how we are organizing the company.

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  13. My question is same with linda green. I’ll waiting your great explaination ;) thanks

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  14. Marc Musgrove

    Linda, Oes, you might want to check out this earlier post from our CTO, Padmasree Warrior in April this year on this particular question. This sums it up I think: What we hear from most CEOs, CTOs and CIOs is that we need to do both – especially during the current economic downturn. We no longer have the luxury of choosing one vs. the other.”"http://bit.ly/EFlw4″

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  15. What a nice article. Thank you for posting this. I’m busy downloading the sound clip right now. Johan Roode

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  16. Given its track record with other institutional innovations such as acquisitions and outsourcing, Cisco has a good chance of coming to exemplify a new world of “co-ordinate and cultivate” in the same way that GE stood for “command and control”.Thanks for this article.John Chambers I think Best CEO in the world. :D Maybe he can hire me :P

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  17. Thanks for this great post and I want to say thanks the other videos link. Very helpfull

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  18. Thanks! I’ll be trying to download this as well..

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  19. Great article as always, I always wonder how you guys write the wonder full aricles, great blog

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  20. Our network infrastructure depends on Cisco. Can’t think multinationals without this company.

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  21. Cisco systems are recommended by the professionals, and it was a good experience

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  22. thanks for sharing quality content.

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  23. Cisco is a very unique company. They are able to pull off feats of that no other company can do. They purchase such a wide variety of companies to continue growing, yet manage to manage their vast infrastructure with unbelievable affectiveness.

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