If I could sum up last week in one word for Cisco it would be:  impressive!  Earlier in the week, the Boston Consulting Group released their rankings of the world’s most innovative companies for 2014 and Cisco jumped to #14, up from #46 the previous year.

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Source: Boston Consulting Group

In their report, The Boston Consulting Group simply states, “Innovation is hard.”  “Breakthrough innovation is harder.”  I couldn’t agree more.  We have celebrated many breakthrough innovations that have dramatically redefined the way we live, learn, work and play over the years at Cisco and this year was no exception.

We celebrated some of the year’s best innovations at the 16th annual Pioneer Awards last week. We have a long history of celebrating the prestigious finalists and winners, who are respected for their disruptive innovation, risk taking and ability to grow Cisco’s business.

I am truly in awe by the level of talent and passion I see from our employees around the world at Cisco, year after year and this year was no exception.   Our engineers are constantly redefining our extensive technology portfolio as well as driving disruptive innovation.   This year I am especially proud because we have multiple-year Pioneer Award winners and 3 of the awards are in the areas of automation, virtualization and cloud; all areas of thought leadership which are fueling Cisco’s growth and helps address and solve our customers’ complex business problems.

The four categories that the finalists are evaluated on are Core Technology, Product Innovation, Productivity Solution and Value Engineering.

This year’s Pioneer Awards winners included:

Core Technology:  Automatic Networking a project that has architected and productized a strategy to incrementally make networks easier to deploy and manage, with a long-term vision of customer-driven self-management functions. Today, our customers are benefitting from ANI by reducing cost and rollout time during network deployment as well as reducing cost and downtime during ongoing network operations.DSC_3645

Value Engineering:  We challenged this next team to increase the Gross Margins, as well as the Standard Margins for our N7K product Line and they didn’t disappoint. These Value Engineering programs have allowed Nexus7K to keep pricing flexible, maintain 10GE, 40GE and 100GE leadership and also strengthen the product family overall Gross Margin as well as helped to maintain leading market share.


Productivity Solution:  The Virtual Internet Routing Lab (VIRL) team is collaboration at its best. VIRL brings together a team including many volunteers drawn from across Cisco with the goal to create a unified environment in which users can design a network, configure the virtual devices in the network in an automated manner and then ‘launch’ the network as a set of virtual machines running Cisco Network operating systems. VIRL has been vital in recent customer bids and wins.


Product Innovation:  Cisco’s Cloud Services Router (CSR1000V), an industry game changer, has changed the economics of network-function-virtualization by enabling a smooth transition to virtualization that had not been possible prior to CSR1000V. It won Best of Interop Award and has become the blueprint for future Cisco virtual products, because it is the first product with the unique ability to address with a single image the needs of multiple distinct markets, as well as support the following while not sacrificing virtualization features or performance.


To all the finalists and the winners, congratulations!   Your pride of innovation shines through your hard work and dedication as you help Cisco to continue to pave the way for our future as the #1 IT Company in the world.

Impressive indeed!



Pankaj Patel

Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer