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The Facts about Innovation Leadership in Networking.

I just arrived home from a couple of days visiting customers in Asia and I was a little surprised by all the attention around Cisco’s increased competitive posture. It seems some people are surprised Cisco is calling out its smaller networking competitor by name, although I’ve heard few mentions of their Wall Street Journal cartoon advertisements ridiculing Cisco a while back. I guess that didn’t count.

Here’s the issue. If you’re going to claim innovation leadership in networking, you better be prepared to back it up with facts.

What matters most to customers is whether their networking partner is ready right now to help them adapt to, and benefit from, the massive network-centric changes that are transforming their businesses and their customers’ businesses.

My recent trip to Asia provided some great examples of exactly what I’m talking about:

First, Mobility is red hot. Tablet growth is exploding as the shift from the PC to new consumer based devices accelerates. With our service provider customers, the new Mobile Packet Core is THE number one conversation. The Cisco ASR 5000, combined with our CRS-1 and CRS-3, is the most innovative technology available to handle this explosion of mobile data and develop new services to help service providers monetize mobile content.

Twenty of the world’s top twenty five mobile operators are already deploying the Cisco ASR 5000 and this number is only going to increase. We also hear growing interest in Asia for SP Wi-Fi as an alternate method to address the escalating requirements for mobile bandwidth and data services. For sure, there’s a lot of competition for the mobile packet core and SP Wi-Fi, but our smaller competitor from Sunnyvale just doesn’t seem to be relevant in these conversations.

Cloud is on fire as enterprises accelerate their migration to private cloud to capture the economic, operational and agility benefits. In this area Cisco innovations have rocked the industry. Let’s check the facts. From a decade long position of undisputed leadership in data center switching based on our flagship Catalyst family of Ethernet switches, Cisco led the market with the first purpose built data center core switch and operating system, the Nexus 7000 with Cisco NX-OS software. Then we led the market with the introduction of Unified Fabric on the Nexus 5000, the first to consolidate data center networks over FCoE. We also introduced the first data center fabric extension on the Nexus 2000. And the Nexus 1000 was the industry’s first distributed virtual switch for VMware environments. The Nexus 3000 ultra low-latency switch has achieved immediate success in financial services customers and at massively scalable data centers.

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Trust, Relationships and Reputation: How Cisco Differs from the Competition

As Cisco re-focused, reorganized and became stronger and leaner in the past two quarters, maintaining trust with our customers and partners was always front of mind for me.

For more than 25 years, Cisco has systematically and passionately invested in customer relationships and developed a reputation for doing whatever it takes to deliver on our commitments. We operate as our customers want us to: as business partners, not just as a vendor. We’re in it to win together and drive shared business success.

That philosophy is a big reason why Cisco consistently ranks No. 1 among technology vendors for overall performance and quality of products and services in studies of customer satisfaction.

It’s also a big reason why our customers have stood by us as we faced challenges in the past year. I have been consistently impressed -- and humbled -- by how many customers have told me they want Cisco to succeed; to continue to innovate and to be an even stronger business partner than before.

Recognizing the power of those trusted relationships also made us more resolute in the face of competitors who consistently broke their promises as if that were the norm in business today. I’ll say more about that in a moment.

Management guru Tom Peters once offered a simple formula for building trusted relationships in business: “Under promise and over deliver.”  Sounds simple, but has a wiser piece of business advice ever been given?

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