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Reflections on the Fortune Global Forum: How businesses will win in the midst of the biggest revolution of high tech

I had the great privilege of attending and speaking at Fortune Global Forum this week, which gathers business leaders to discuss the most pressing challenges we face and to set the global business agenda. The theme of this year’s conference was “winning in the disruptive century” and focused on how businesses must operate in order to stay competitive in this environment. One common concept fueling discussions around the disruptive market we’re navigating was connectivity. CEOs across industries – manufacturing, technology, healthcare, finance and so on – are recognizing the need to not only digitize, but to reinvent themselves to stay ahead. As I reflect on the conversations I had at the Fortune Global Forum, here are some of the points that really resonated with me:

Businesses are poised to lead on digitization if we make it our priority.

Current forecasts around the number of connected devices are too conservative. By 2030, I believe that there will be closer to 500 billion connected devices. With digitization every aspect of day to day business will change, from supply chain to customer interface to productivity, every company will become digital. However, according to The Global Center for Digital Business Transformation, only 25 percent of executives have a proactive plan to address digitization. Leaders at Fortune Global Forum agreed that value is created by not just connecting things, but by how you use these new connections to make an impact on not only business, but also on governments and society.

I’ve met with government leaders in France, Israel, UK, Germany and India who not only understand the impact of digitization, but they’re moving quickly to bring it to life for their countries. I think we have something to learn from these leaders. First, that digitization should be a priority on our national agenda here in the U.S., as technology strategy will play a critical role in our success as a country in the digital world. Second, that digitization should also be at the top of the corporate agenda. If governments are moving on digitization with this type if tremendous speed, our businesses have to move even faster and be even more dynamic to realize the full potential of this opportunity.

Your company is defined by much more than just your core products.

Most companies today make 90 percent of their revenue from two or three products that have been in their portfolio for some time. To stay competitive in today’s disruptive environment, you can’t stay doing the same thing for too long. Business leaders must have the courage to expand into new emerging areas ahead of market transitions. This takes courage!

An overwhelming majority of leaders at the Fortune Global Forum noted that this challenge keeps them up at night, and that it’s made even more pressing by the increasing number of connected devices that are coming online. For instance, with the rise of mobile, my fellow panelist BT CEO Gavin Patterson saw an opportunity to make a foray into a new market and had the courage to expand his business beyond voice. This was just one of countless examples of how BT reinvented itself over its hundred-year history. This theme of reinvention rang true for others too, including Wells Fargo. To be successful in the digital world, leaders must find new profit streams and tie everything back to customers’ expectations.

Your competition today may not be your competition tomorrow.

Forty percent of market leaders will be displaced or eliminated by digital disruptors in the next 10 years. In my opinion the average time to disruption (meaning a “substantial change” in market share among incumbents) is now about 3 years, a dramatic escalation in the rate of competitive change versus historical levels. These disruptors offer differentiated products and services and better value than incumbents. This creates a hyper-competitive landscape driven by digital disruption, where lines between industries are blurring and markets are changing exponentially.

Companies that fail to keep up with the accelerating pace of innovation in this environment will be left behind as new competitors grab hold of market share. We saw this type of disruption occur with cloud and mobile, for instance, and we must always be thinking about the next transition. It’s important to remember that the disruptors of today look much different than they have in the past. If we don’t pay attention to this next generation of competition, we risk being left behind entirely.

The Fortune Global Forum agenda has made it clear: business leaders recognize the tremendous sense of urgency around our digital future. We are in the midst of one of the most revolutionary changes in technology we have ever seen which will have 5 to 10 times the impact of the Internet to date and will impact all industries – manufacturing, telecommunications, financial services, healthcare, and others. To win in this new age, businesses must make digitization a top priority.

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What Are The Riskiest Cloud Services?

We’ve known for years that employees and lines of business are bypassing IT departments to get the cloud services they want. The good news is we can finally quantify how much shadow IT exists in an organization and identify any risks.

Large customers actually use 730 individual cloud services on average—with some using over 1,000. That’s 15-22 times more than what their IT departments estimate. We can help customers understand what (and how much) they are using, but even then, I get asked (a lot) – which ones are the riskiest?


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5 Key Business Lessons from National Championship Game

As a big basketball fan, coach, business leader and parent, I’ve been thinking about the multitude of lessons that can be learned from the National Championship game Monday night.  Here’s my quick take on some of the key points:


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Product Transitions

We made it! It is Friday afternoon and the weekend is almost upon us. But before closing up shop, it is a good time to bring up some product transitions that we have going on.

First off the wireless team has this update:KO27034

The popular WAP4410N model is no longer available. There are options:

The current replacement is WAP121 but if you looking  for more performance and more features, take a look at the WAP321, WAP551 or the dual-band WAP561.

To close this out, we have the new WAP371. It is brand new, it performs and it has wireless 802.11ac!


Now for the RV Series:

The RV120W and RV220W will be going end-of-sale at the end of December this year. The RV180 and Rv180W will be going to end-of-sale by April of next year. Quantities could be limited on certain regional SKU’s.

The replacement models are the RV130 for the RV180, and the RV130W for the rest.

Update: We also have five PIDs that are now EoL: RV220W-A-K9-AU, RV180W-A-K9-AU (both for Australia/NZ), RV180-K9-AR (Argentina), RV180-K9-CN (China), and the RV016-G5 (EMEA). In Mexico, the RV180-A-K9-NA is now replace with the RV130-A-K9-NA.

Have a great week.


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The Foundation for a Business Relevant Network

With the growing influx of new mobile devices, connected things, bandwidth intensive applications and more data, the network is more relevant to business success than ever before.  Back in June of 2012, Cisco saw that we needed to move away from multiple network systems loosely linked together to an agile and simple infrastructure, streamlined policy and centralized management would be needed to support new business demands. We called it Cisco Unified Access and we aligned the solution to three pillars: One Network, One Policy and One Management.

For the last few years, we have focused on delivering new products and functionality under this Unified Access model. Below is a timeline of products released as part of the Unified Access framework. Cisco lead the way in delivering gigabit 802.11ac Wi-Fi., converged wireless control in access switches and through the acquisition of Meraki – a complete cloud-managed network solution.


The timeline above doesn’t represent every feature and function we have delivered, but it shows Cisco’s commitment to this Unified Access model, both from a cloud-managed and on-premise solution perspective.

Today, Cisco is announcing a number of new products and new functionality to existing products that will help mobilize the workforce, secure the business and increase IT agility. The announcement includes the following: Read More »

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