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50 Billion Things, Coming to a Cloud Near You

Today at Cisco Live we announced an expansion of our Intercloud strategy. We added new features and capabilities for our hybrid cloud software, Cisco Intercloud Fabric, along with the addition of 35 independent software vendors committed to developing Intercloud-enabled services for customers.  Together these developments will give customers more choice, compliance and control in the hybrid cloud world.

But there is a bigger opportunity that goes beyond hybrid cloud. We’re not just developing a new cloud platform and connecting the world of many clouds. We’re preparing for a much larger hybrid IT-enabled future where billions of digital services, applications and intelligent devices will need a control point. We believe that control point is our Intercloud platform.

The next wave of the Internet

Every hour 300,000 new things connect to the Internet; translating into more than 50 million things a week. And this rate of connectivity is increasing. We estimate that by 2020, 50 billion things and five billion people will be connected.

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Each thing will be connected to the Internet. It isn’t necessary for everything to have onboard intelligence, or to be connected full time to the Internet. Intelligence and engagement can be abstracted away from the things themselves to the clouds. We can already see this today. Many of us have several cloud connected things already in our own home – the home thermostat, smoke detector, file backup and smart phone to name a few.  And it’s not just in the home – the explosion includes cloud connected cars like the Tesla and connected smart cities.

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The Marathon Sprint to go Digital: Are You Ready?

Every market and every industry is moving from the Information Age to the digital age, and the pace of change is happening faster than ever before. Every company, city and country is realizing they must transform to survive and thrive in this new era. I predict this race to go digital will be more like a marathon sprint; however, not everyone will make it to the finish line. Gartner predicts that only 30 percent of digitization efforts will be successful[1], with the inability to reinvent as the number one reason companies will fail in this new era.[2]

As a leader of a company that has successfully seen around corners and reinvented itself, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to win in an environment of exponential change. Here is my advice for other leaders as they move to the digital age:

Digitize and Disrupt.

Now, more than ever, you must reinvent yourself to embrace the opportunities that digitization presents. It used to take almost 20 years for a company to show commodity-like behavior, but now it only takes a matter of two to three. Spotify and Square, for instance, have disrupted music and point-of-sale respectively. These are only a couple of the innovative companies that are putting increased pressure on businesses to disrupt themselves by challenging traditional models.

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Two Ways Broadband Internet Is Improving Health Care and Education

This blog was originally published on the Huffington Post ImpactX.

In many parts of the world, being able to download information on a smartphone, tablet or laptop in a few seconds is the norm. In Silicon Valley, wireless high-speed Internet connections are more ubiquitous than Starbucks.

Broadband has changed the way we work, shop, watch movies and communicate with loved ones, allowing us to access more robust types of content, services and applications. Yet if we look beyond our own personal use, we can see that broadband Internet access is not merely a convenience: it is a powerful force for social change.

In education, broadband technology can have a huge impact. Educators face a number of challenges, including teacher shortages, limited access in rural areas and gender disparity. For example, the world would need 3.3 million primary teachers and 5.1 million lower secondary teachers in classrooms by 2030 to provide all children with basic education, according to UNESCO’s 2013-2014 Education For All Global Monitoring Report.

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Next Generation Executive Leadership Team

Today I’m extremely proud and excited to announce my next generation executive leadership team who will lead Cisco into the digital age.

With the increasing pace and complexity of today’s market, it’s critical that our leadership team understands our customers, delivers results, brings diverse perspectives and experiences, and builds world-class, highly motivated teams. This is what will differentiate us as a much faster, innovative organization that delivers the best results for our customers.

We have been developing and attracting our next generation of leaders for many years, and I’m confident that this team is ready to lead Cisco’s next chapter. They know how Cisco works, what makes Cisco great, and how we can accelerate our current momentum. Some have been with the company for as long as I have or longer, a third have joined Cisco in the last 3 years, and others are new to Cisco.

They have the capabilities, accomplishments, and the values required to lead us into the future. Their combined vision, passion and authenticity, along with a focus on strategy, results, and innovation truly differentiate this team. These unique characteristics reflect the remarkable culture of Cisco that has motivated and energized me for the past 17 years.

Executive Leadership Team

Let me explain why each person is the ideal leader to move us forward.

Pankaj Patel, Executive Vice President, Development

  • Everything we do starts with our innovation. Pankaj leads Cisco’s 25,000 development engineers and the company’s $36 billion technology portfolio.
  • He joined Cisco through the acquisition of Stratacom and has since overseen Cisco’s innovation in the cloud, mobility, data center, security, collaboration, software and the Internet of Everything markets.
  • Over the last 2 years, Pankaj has led the transformation of Cisco’s engineering organization to drive focus and accelerate innovation. He is pioneering new ways of driving innovation at Cisco, including a new model of internal start-ups which he launched last year.

Kelly Kramer, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

  • Kelly joined Cisco three years ago after 20 years at GE working across numerous divisions and countries around the world.
  • She quickly established herself as a business leader capable of partnering across and influencing the entire organization, particularly with her no-nonsense direct style.
  • She has driven a disciplined focus on our financial model and delivered on our commitments to our shareholders.
  • Her promotion to CFO 3 quarters ago was seamless, and she is extremely well respected internally and externally.

Rebecca Jacoby, Senior Vice President, Operations

  • Previously Chief Information Technology Officer (CIO), Rebecca has a strong track record of operational excellence, innovative problem solving, and partnering cross-functionally. Her leadership and talent development skills have resulted in some of the best employee satisfaction scores in the company.
  • She has elevated the role of IT at Cisco and positioned us as one of the best in the industry. She has exemplified Fast IT, enabling $5.4B of incremental revenue in the last 4+ years with just $400M of incremental expense. She did all of this while driving down costs by over 5% each year.
  • Her experience in development, operations, supply chain and IT make enable her to drive Cisco’s continued focus on profitability, accountability, and world-class operational excellence.
  • Her deep relationships with CIOs around the world make her extremely well respected across the industry and she was recently inducted into the CIO Hall of Fame.
  • Guillermo Diaz has been promoted to CIO reporting directly to Jacoby. Diaz, most recently Cisco senior vice president of IT—Connected IT, has been accountable for the company’s enterprise IT architecture, technology strategy, and IT services/operating model.

Francine Katsoudas, Senior Vice President, Chief People Officer

  • Fran is the architect of Our People Strategy and Human Resources Organization, focusing on how Cisco wins in the talent marketplace while creating a compelling and unique employee experience.
  • She accelerates company transformation through leadership, attracting and retaining the best talent and building a culture of passion and innovation.
  • Fran is committed to ground breaking HR solutions, analytics and new talent models.

Chris Dedicoat, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales

  • Chris joined Cisco in 1995 and has served as Senior Vice President of EMEAR for the past four years where he has led the region to solid growth in a very challenging market.
  • Chris has a keen understanding of technology and market opportunities, an ability to drive transformation while running the business, and an unparalleled ability to lead and motivate teams.

Joe Cozzolino, Senior Vice President, Services

  • Joe has extensive global General Management experience in all facets of the business including engineering, sales, & services. He has a competitive edge and in his own words: “hates losing more than he loves winning.”
  • He began his career more than 25 years ago as a Systems Engineer designing video voice on fiber optics. For the last 2 years, Joe led Cisco’s Service Provider Mobility and Video Infrastructure businesses.
  • Before Cisco, he spent 12 years at Motorola in various executive roles successfully growing new businesses undergoing technology inflection.
  • Joe has an Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and an MBA from Annie Maria College.

Hilton Romanski, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology and Strategy Officer

  • Hilton has been responsible for the ‘buy’ in Cisco’s “build, buy, partner, integrate” strategy for growth and innovation
  • He has led over $20 billion in acquisitions in 40 deals, including Sourcefire, Meraki, and Airespace and was named Deal Maker of the Year in 2014 by The Deal.
  • He has also led Cisco’s M&A and investment entry into the emerging markets by forming and expanding teams and activities in China, India, Russia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.
  • Hilton oversees Cisco’s corporate venture investment portfolio, currently valued at $2 billion, one of the highest performing corporate venture capital funds globally.
  • In his new role, Hilton will lead CTSO and be chartered to drive strategic development and growth of Cisco by applying important tools to nurture technology disruption, build alliance partnerships, acquire companies, invest in start-ups, and engage the global marketplace of ideas to drive Cisco’s success

Karen Walker, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer

  • Karen joined Cisco six years ago from Hewlett-Packard, where she held business and consumer leadership positions including Vice President of Alliances and Marketing for HP Services, and Vice President of Strategy and Marketing.
  • Her 20-plus years in the IT industry have included senior field and marketing leadership roles in Europe, North America, and the Asia Pacific region.
  • Karen is a Board member of the I.T. Services Marketing Association and a member of the CMO Council North America Advisory Board, the Marketers that Matter Council, Advancing Executive Women (AWE) in Silicon Valley, and CRN’s 2013 Women of the Channel. She also sponsors multiple initiatives to accelerate female leadership within Cisco.

Mark Chandler, Senior Vice President and General Counsel

  • Mark joined Cisco’s Legal Department in 1996 when it had 12 employees; today we have a phenomenal team of legal, contract and compliance professionals of more than 400 people that is regularly ranked among the industry’s best.
  • Before Cisco, Mark was General Counsel at Maxtor, a Fortune 500 disk drive manufacturer, and at StrataCom.
  • Mark is a strong business leader with a keen ability to innovate, disrupt and provide tremendous input into our strategy. In 2010, The National Law Journal named him one of the 40 Most Influential Lawyers of the Decade and in 2013, American Lawyer numbered Mark among the “Top 50 Big Law Innovators of the Last 50 Years.”

Ruba Borno, VP, Growth Initiatives and Chief of Staff

  • Ruba will join Cisco from The Boston Consulting Group where she is a Principal and leader in the Technology, Media & Telecommunications, and People & Organization practice groups.
  • She holds a Ph.D. and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering with honors from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
  • For the last seven years, Ruba has been advising enterprise and consumer technology executives on organizational change, increasing operational effectiveness, and accelerating business growth.
  • Ruba has been an Intel Ph.D. fellow at the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Integrated MicroSystems, contributed to multiple peer-reviewed research publications, and is a supporter of Bay Area organizations tackling education and poverty challenges.

I am committed to investing in and developing Cisco’s extended leadership team over time. I plan to also look externally to fill several roles that will lead key growth initiatives in new markets. I am also committed to adding even more diversity of thought and experience over time, constantly strengthening both our bench and our decision making.

There are also a few individuals who have made tremendous contributions to Cisco who will be transitioning over the next few months. I am thankful for the years of partnerships I’ve had with these amazing leaders who will be leaving Cisco:

  • Wim Elfrink has served as Cisco’s Chief Globalization Officer since 2006 and opened Cisco’s second global headquarters in Bangalore, India. His leadership on smart cities and connected industries has helped define our vision for the next wave of the Internet, the Internet of Everything. Wim will retire from Cisco on July 25th and I want to thank him for his exceptional leadership and his passion for what is possible.
  • Padmasree Warrior is a highly respected leader who most recently served as Cisco’s Chief Strategy and Technology Officer. She is well known across the industry and the globe, and has been a champion internally for innovation, strategic partnerships, investments and mergers and acquisitions. Padmasree has led the success of many of our strategic partnerships and will remain with us until September to help finalize some of our key partnerships for the future. I am grateful for the impact she’s had on Cisco and her commitment to helping us finalize these important alliances.
  • Edzard Overbeek in his role as Senior Vice President of Cisco Services has been an incredible partner to me for many years. He has made the decision to leave Cisco after 15 years at the company and leadership roles in every region around the world. Edzard has agreed to stay on through the transition as a strategic advisor on key disruptive strategies that he has shown great passion for while at Cisco. His vision and energy will ensure his success in his next venture, something I hope will be closely connected to Cisco.

We are so fortunate that these leaders are able to remain with us in the near-term to finish key projects and ensure a smooth transition. I believe this is a testament to the Cisco culture as well as their commitment, service, and leadership.

Going forward, my new team will define and build the next chapter for Cisco together. I’m extremely confident we will move even faster, innovate like never before, and pull away from the competition. This is an incredible team with a diverse set of experiences, expertise and backgrounds to accelerate our innovation and execution, simplify how we do business, drive operational rigor in all we do, and inspire our amazing employees to be the best they can be.

This new leadership team, along with the deep talent and passion of all of Cisco, gives me absolute confidence that we will lead, and our customers will win. I’ve never been more excited to build our future together.

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Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire Piston Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has fundamentally altered the IT landscape: dramatically boosting IT agility, while lowering costs. To realize the business advantages of cloud, organizations are shifting to a hybrid IT model—blending private cloud, public cloud, and on-premise applications.

To help customers maintain control and compliance in this hyper-connected, hyper-distributed IT environment, Cisco and its partners are building the Intercloud—a globally connected network of clouds. Today, Cisco is taking another important step towards realizing our ambitious Intercloud vision. We are pleased to announce our intent to acquire Piston Cloud Computing, which will help accelerate the product, delivery, and operational capabilities of Cisco Intercloud Services.

Paired with our recent acquisition of Metacloud, Piston’s distributed systems engineering and OpenStack talent will further enhance our capabilities around cloud automation, availability, and scale. The acquisition of Piston will complement our Intercloud strategy by bringing additional operational experience on the underlying infrastructure that powers Cisco OpenStack Private Cloud. Additionally, Piston’s deep knowledge of distributed systems and automated deployment will help further enhance our delivery capabilities for customers and partners.

To bring the world of standalone clouds together, Cisco and our partners are building the Intercloud. The Intercloud is designed to deliver secure cloud services everywhere in the world. Our enterprise-class portfolio of technology and cloud services gives customers the choice to build their own private clouds or consume cloud services from a trusted Intercloud Provider. The Intercloud provides choice of services, all with compliance and control. In a nutshell: we’re delivering cloud the way our customers need it.

Piston will join our Cloud Services team under the leadership of Faiyaz Shahpurwala, senior vice president, Cloud Infrastructure and Managed Services Organization.

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