After nearly 21 years of riding this rocket ship called Cisco, my mind is filled with the amazing experiences I have had around the world with colleagues, business partners and customers. Together, we have harnessed the incredible power of the Internet to change the world.
I have had so many memorable and proud moments during these past two decades thanks to the opportunities that Cisco presented to me and to my family. So humor me here, and join me, while I reflect back on just a few of them. To all of you who were part of these, I hope you realize how much I appreciate your friendship.
The fun all started when I joined Cisco Canada in the fall of 1994 as President and General Manager. I inherited a small team of 40, with lots of open headcount requisitions, and was quickly amazed at how this powerful small team effectively served customers as the convergence to IP accelerated. I remember the closed-door meetings talking about “Project Symphony”, the program that led to the introduction of the Catalyst 5000. Following several acquisitions of Ethernet switching companies, Cisco established the switching juggernaut that it has maintained for almost two decades. We also acquired Stratacom, which provided us with some much needed “carrier chops” and helped us become the market leader in the IP-centric service provider market we all recognize today.
The decision to move on and embark on my new chapter has not been an easy one. I joined Cisco in 2001 because I saw the opportunity to change the world for the better with our technology. My 14 years here have been immensely rewarding because of the friendships I’ve made with so many of you. The last four and a half years, first as COO and then President, have been the most challenging and exciting professional experience any one could hope for in their career.
Looking back at my career here, I am extremely proud of many things. When I joined, John asked me to build a world class services organization that would be best in class in terms of margins, value add to our customers and supportive of our important and vast partner ecosystem. The Services organization I joined to build has grown from $3 billion to nearly $10 billion in annual revenue in 12 years, with among the strongest margins in the industry, and is a key contributor to Cisco’s growth and profitability. Importantly, our partner delivered services represents many billions of dollars beyond that. Culturally, Services has always led with a mindset of customer first and has led the company as we have moved to focus on our customers’ business outcomes.
Innovation – exponential innovation – is needed to capitalize on the $19 trillion in value at stake that the Internet of Everything (IoE) is poised to generate worldwide over the next decade. We’ve entered a time of co-innovation and experimentation via rapid prototyping and an ecosystem of partners to develop new business models and new sources of revenue.
It is an exciting day for me. Today, we are announcing our first annual Data & Analytics Conference in Chicago, October 20-22. If you’ve previously joined us for Data Virtualization Day, you’ll find this expanded experience responds to your feedback and the changes your business is experiencing as the industry embraces the relevance of analytics.
To share our enthusiasm, and in honor of David Lettermen’s Final Late Show broadcast, here are the Top 10 reasons why you should join us at our conference this Fall:
The key to retail today is customer understanding —where each customer stands on his or her personal shopping journey, whether in-store or out. Retailers must “know” each shopper as never before. And they must offer the kinds of contextual, personally relevant experiences that will optimize their merchandise mix, create faster inventory turns, and drive greater customer engagement.
After all, the typical customer today is mobile, connected, and has heightened expectations. Many are accustomed to a deeper level of real-time interaction from innovative online retailers than from traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
Yet, as a recent Cisco study revealed, offline retailers – or retailers that combine on and offline capabilities – have their own unique advantages – if they step up to the opportunities of the Internet of Everything (IoE) economy. By blending the benefits of the physical store — such as the ability to touch, compare, and try on products — with the benefits of the virtual world, retailers can create a new value proposition that can’t be matched by their online-only competitors. In the process, they not only drive their own industry’s disruption but challenge for market leadership.