I’m pleased and proud to report that Cisco was named this week as one of the Top 50 Most Innovative Companies by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). This marks the third year in a row that we’ve been included on this prestigious list alongside other industry innovators like Apple, Google, and Tesla. In all, we’ve been included in nine out of the last ten reports.
I’m even more pleased to see how well our engineering direction aligns with the criteria that BCG highlights as defining the most innovative of all companies. Those criteria are:
1. The Rising Need for Innovation Speed.
The Internet-fueled transformation of industries is happening at incredible speed. From hospitality to health care, TV to telecommunications, our customers are calling upon us to help them out-wit, out-pace, and out-innovate potential disruptors. I’m exhilarated by how our engineers are rising to this challenge.
Take the service provider industry, for example. This is a market that’s under incredible pressure to drive new revenues by rapidly delivering communications and business services securely with greater agility, automation, and simplicity – at a lower cost.
With a project called ‘xSpeed’, Cisco delivered powerful software innovations for cloud networking that precisely met service provider needs in just 13 weeks. The xSpeed team had autonomy to execute and they delivered first demos within three weeks. xSpeed is one of our internal startups, called Alpha’s, combining the speed and agility profile of a startup with the resources and scale of Cisco.
2. Strong Innovators are Lean Innovators.
BCG calls out the power of small teams. I couldn’t agree more! The culture I have been driving within engineering is to have my engineers “Think Big, Act Small” while we provide the autonomy to execute. Another great example of our success here is the rapid rise of Cisco Spark, our team collaboration application that is transforming the way teams stay connected. That team has experimented, taken risks, dared to break glass – and customers are loving the outcomes! On that note, watch out for more exciting Spark news at our Collaboration Summit next week!
3. Enabling Technology-Enabled Innovation.
We have encouraged our customers to embrace digital, connected business processes. We’ve also led the world for three decades in connecting our own business processes, from the way we close our books to the way we empower our sellers. How we innovate has become technology-enabled too. Today we’re creating end-to-end engineering workflow automation and enabled continuous integration for our agile development efforts. The result is that we’re moving faster than ever. We have reduced technology build time by 50 to 60% in many cases. And we’ve created iterative processes to enable us to review internal demos every two weeks. How’s that for technology-enabled innovation!
4. The Prerequisites of Profitable Adjacent Growth.
Pursuing market adjacencies has always been a Cisco strength. Today, more than 40% of our product revenues are generated by businesses outside of switching and routing. And we’re aggressively pursuing more areas of innovation, including Edge Computing, data analytics at the edge, and the Internet of Things.
Cisco engineering is maniacally focused on creating innovation that matters to our customers. And I’m proud to see our efforts recognized in this report. It’s a great accolade to the 22,000+ engineers who are powering Cisco’s Innovation Engine every day!