Cisco recently wrapped up its annual worldwide sales conference, and while much of the content and conversations were directed toward our salespeople, all of it was focused around our most important audience—our customers.

I had the privilege to present to more than 3,500 sellers, to update them on Cisco’s transformation and how we are enabling our customers’ digital businesses. Here are a few of the key takeaways from the week and how they directly relate to our customers.

Pervasive Underpinning of Digital Transformation

The world is changing, and fast. It may surprise you to learn that the latest Ford F150 pickup trucks contain 150 million lines of code, more than a Boeing 787 or the Android operating system! This fact highlights that every industry is being digitally disrupted and moving toward more software-defined business models.

As this happens, companies need one pervasive network to be the underpinning of their entire organization as they become a digital business. They simply can’t afford to have separate networks for diverse functions. Cisco recently unveiled The Network. Intuitive where we reiterated the importance of the network as the enabler of digital business transformation and reclaimed our identity as the networking company. Customers need a network that will act as an intelligent system and respond at the pace of business. A network with automation, analytics and security baked in its fabric. This is precisely what Cisco brings to the table with The Network. Intuitive.

Aligning to Cisco’s Innovation Roadmap

As I mentioned in an earlier post, digital transformation is never ending. This reality requires companies to have visibility into Cisco’s architecture roadmap, so they can align their business transformation with our continuous innovation. As customers understand what we are doing and where we are headed in terms of delivering a new era of networking that continuously learns, adapts and protects, they will want to broaden the Cisco network across their organization.

Cisco’s Transformation to Serve Customer Needs

Before joining Cisco two years ago, CEO Chuck Robbins asked me two questions: 1) Where is technology going? and 2) What are the implications for business?

I quickly learned we had two core assets—tremendous talent and incredible innovation. However, before we could fully leverage these strengths, we first needed to address our customers’ needs by pivoting from a hardware-based business to a “consumption” company.

By reinventing both our operating model (how we work) and business model (how we deliver customer value), we have been able to simplify our portfolio, so customers can more easily consume all that we have to offer. This work is bearing fruit as evidenced by the recent Enterprise Agreement (EA) announcement. With EA, customers have a simplified buying model, a real-time consumption model view of licenses, and an enterprise-wide contract. These capabilities allow customers to centralize license management, predict budgets, and have a more strategic relationship with Cisco. In FY2017, Cisco experienced 56% growth in EA sales. Customers, especially in the C-suite, are seeing the value Cisco delivers to their businesses. And this is just the beginning.

Cisco is also simplifying its breadth of offerings into suites. For example, the Catalyst 9300 combines hardware, software, and services. This approach of building continuity into our portfolio through suites enabled Cisco to sell 47% more software. While this is good for Cisco, it’s even better for our customers because they benefit by participating in our ongoing innovation and product roadmap, which speeds their digital transformations.

A New Conversation

Cisco is no longer solely a hardware-centric product company. We have spent the past two years changing into an intent-based networking company that is defining a new era of networking – secure, automated and built for the digital business era. In addition, we are just at the beginning of an incredible cycle of innovation as we extend these new intuitive networking capabilities across our portfolio. Just as important, our business and operating model transformation to support our customers’ demands for flexible consumption options now allows them to gain faster and easier access to Cisco’s innovation where, when and how they want.

My overall message to our sales team, along with our customers and partners, is that Cisco has reached a critical milestone, and now we are focused on scale and acceleration to achieve our full potential and deliver even more value to customers.


Kevin Bandy

No Longer with Cisco