Cisco Blogs

Cisco Blog > The Platform

Cisco Small Business Leader offers Tech Strategy Advice for the Downturn

Most governments around the world realize small businesses are the engines of innovation. It’s why so many of their stimulus packages have been designed to help small businesses weather the downturn and evolve, create new ideas and generate new business opportunities-and eventually help lead us out of this tough economic time. History also shows us that small businesses innovate at a higher rate and recover from periods of economic downturn faster than their larger counterparts. According to the U.S. Census Bureau after the last two recessions in 1990 and 2001, the fastest job growth rate came from small businesses.To coincide with our small business technology launch today, we asked Ian Pennell, senior vice president of the small business technology group at Cisco, to elaborate on the resilience of small businesses and to offer perspectives on the technology choices they can make to help them prepare for the eventual upturn.

LAN switching market: It’s about more than numbers

Some vendors in the LAN switching market posted press releases citing Dell’Oro Group 3QCY08 report data, which showed growth rates that are much higher than the industry rate, and also stated that they are leaders in the market. What they don’t tell you is that according to that same Dell’Oro data, Cisco continued to contribute to the vast majority of the market and generated 15 times the revenue of the next closest vendor for the third calendar quarter of 2008. Cisco enjoys market share many times greater than the competition. But we seldom bring up the topic of our market share. We prefer to focus on how we partner with our customers to bring value to their businesses. How do we solve the problems that our customers encounter on a daily basis? How can we enable them to make faster and better decisions, and yet save money in the process? These are the questions that we ask.Our collaboration tools ride on our switching platform to connect our customers’ employees together by voice or video, worldwide. Our wireless products also use the same switch infrastructure to enable mobile users, whether in universities, hospitals, or even oil rigs. Our security products work together to keep our customers’ information highly secure across their entire networks, not just the wired portions or the wireless portions. Read More »

Does it take caution or courage to manage through a downturn?

Tiger Woods and Accenture have been urging us business folks to “Be a Tiger” for a few years now, but when it comes down to the crunch, isn’t that easier said than done? I’d venture many managers would instinctively prefer to head for shelter than face a crisis head-on, but of course the actions executives take in situations like those (and times like these) are what distinguish leaders from followers. No doubt America’s new President would not have been taking the oath yesterday if he had avoided addressing the tough issues on the campaign trail.”It takes courage to make the decisions that good economic times allow us to postpone,” says Rob Lloyd, Cisco’s head of North America and Japan, in a podcast posted today to the Cisco newsroom. In it, he reflects on the bold moves Cisco made in the downturns of 2001 and 2003 to become pioneers and then leaders in VoIP and Next Generation Networks.So, what did we learn from those bold moves and how did they influence the way we manage through this downturn? And how are we applying those lessons to our engagements with customers today? You can hear the answers and the whole podcast here. And if you happen to be a customer who’s interested in applying those learnings to your own business, you might like to take a look at our “Five Ways to Thrive” program pages (and very funny new ‘Survive’ commercial) at

Fortune Magazine: Cisco “Best Place to Work”

We are honored and humbled to be on Fortune’s “Best Companies to Work For” for the 12th straight year. We have been on the list every year since its inception in 1998 and have been in the top 10 four of those years.What makes Cisco a great place to work? For me, in a word: trust. We are trusted to do our jobs. We go through a gauntlet of interviews to get a job at Cisco. Sure, we have to the appropriate educational background and/or work experiences, but we also have to be a cultural fit into the company and the teams that we’ll be working with. What is Cisco’s culture? I work hard and trust my colleagues to work hard…I haven’t been let down. I work with creative, innovative professionals and we all know that a collaborative work environment creates a better product. It is as simple as “two heads are better than one.” Our exectives trust their teams to vet ideas and come to them with appropriate recommendations so that good decisions can be made. We are treated as professionals…and we act the same. We collaborate on projects and share any glory or any blame. Quality of life and work/life balance is also very important. We do work hard, but we are also given the flexibility to complete our work when (or where) we need to. Again, trust.Additionally, our competition drives us to make better products for our customers and focus on their needs. We exist for customers and never forget that. Read More »

Open At Cisco

When a colleague pointed out a recent blog discouraging participation in the Cisco Developer Contest because of a suit filed by FSF related to our Linksys division, I thought it was worth sharing some of the things we’ve done within the open source community and how we’ve developed yet another avenue to work with this communityCisco has been a strong supporter of open source software from early on, and we’ve made extensive contributions to the Linux Kernel -in fact, we’re among the top contributors, and we’re also active members of projects in Eclipse, FreeBSD, Apache and many others. A number of significant contributions are described at Open at Cisco.Many in the open source community know this already, and are very supportive of Cisco’s contributions, with the Linux Magazine’s recognition and the articulate blog from the Linux Foundation. It is important for our customers and partners to know that Cisco takes its open source software obligations seriously and we are disappointed that a suit has been filed by FSF related to our Linksys division. As people in the community know, we have always worked closely with FSF, and hope to reach a resolution agreeable to the company and the Foundation. Read More »