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Boston Consulting Group Names Cisco to its Top 50 Most Innovative Companies List

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!

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Catalysts for 10x Innovation (Part 2)

Innovation CartoonHatching brilliant ideas for the world’s next big innovation is the easy part.  Bringing those ideas to life — through new software, hardware or services solutions — is the hard part.  That’s exponentially true when it comes to the Internet of Everything because of the extra complexity of connecting people, data, process and things through technology.

In our corporate world, it’s called “execution.”  How an innovation is developed from concept to concrete is just as important as the original brainchild itself.

In my last blog, I focused on catalysts that can fuel innovation 10x:  Inclusion, diversity, inquisitiveness, observation, networking, agility and flexibility – they all fuel innovation.  Here, in part two, I want to share some game-changing insights on execution that I learned from industry leaders at Cisco’s recent “Walk the Talk” Leadership Forum.

Read More »

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CCIE : ITD and RISE in CCIE Data Center

ITD and RISE are now part of CCIE Data Center:

https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/community/certifications/ccie_data_center/written-exam-v2/exam-topics

Intelligent Traffic Director (ITD) is a hardware based multi-terabit layer 4 load-balancing, traffic steering and services insertion solution on the Nexus 5k/6k/7k/9k series of switches.

Domain Written Exam (%) Lab Exam (%)  
1.0 Cisco Data Center L2/L3 Technologies 24% 27% Show Details
2.0 Cisco Data Center Network Services 12% 13% Hide Details
2.1 Design, Implement and Troubleshoot Service Insertion and Redirection

  • 2.1.a Design, Implement and Troubleshoot Service Insertion and Redirection for example LB, vPATH, ITD, RISE

2.2 Design, Implement and Troubleshoot network services

  • 2.2.a Design, Implement and Troubleshoot network services for example policy drivenL4-L7 services
3.0 Data Center Storage Networking and Compute 23% 26% Show Details
4.0 Data Center Automation and Orchestration 13% 14% Show Details
5.0 Data Center Fabric Infrastructure 18% 14% Show Details
6.0 Evolving Technologies 10% N/A Show Details

 

To learn about RISE (Remote Integrated Services Engine), please see: http://www.cisco.com/go/rise

To learn about ITD (Intelligent Traffic Director), please see: http://www.cisco.com/go/itd

http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/itd-load-balancing-traffic-steering-clustering-using-nexus-5k6k7k9k

 

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Making a splash: Why Innovation is Like Platform Diving

Alteration. Risk-Taking. Bravery. Curiosity. Breakthrough.

Fabio

Me diving, a sport I took up in midlife.

When you think of innovation, these are the synonyms that come to mind. These characteristics are intimately related to platform diving – a sport I took up at the age of 40.

That was four years ago and I now dive competitively around the world. I also have a passion for innovation, in all its forms, and I push myself to work and think innovatively.  These two pursuits have more in common than you may think.  In fact, I’ve come up with six ways that being a competitive platform diver and striving to be more innovative share a common thread. Read More »

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Catalysts for 10x Innovation (Part 1)

“Why does a computer need a fan? I want my computer to be quiet and small!” Steve Jobs actually provoked that question when he started the journey that led to the creation of Apple II nearly four decades ago.  And, of course, the journey made history and continues on into new frontiers of technology.

Asking an unsettling question that breaks the status quo – in any era – is one of the key catalysts to ignite innovation exponentially. This is especially true today because of the unprecedented levels of innovation made possible by the digitization of society through the Internet of Everything – the connection of people, processes, data and things.Cisco Leadership Forum_Biren presenting

A provocative question that turns things upside down gets the innovation journey under way.  However, it’s just one of many key catalysts we have identified from extensive research and experience that accelerate innovation 10 times or more.

My colleague, Hagit Oron, and I recently had the honor of conducting a highly engaging workshop – Innovation Catalyst – at Cisco’s bi-annual Leadership Forum, an event series tailored for people leaders.  Igniting innovation is one of our company’s highest priorities as we transform from a hardware product company into an end-to-end solution provider delivering business outcomes to customers in vertical markets.

Encourage Inclusive, Diverse Culture. First, we emphasized that leaders must foster a climate of innovation with their full teams – not just by hiring a few outliers – but as a collective team to solve problems and develop new products and services. That means assembling teams with a full spectrum of diverse backgrounds, skills, perspectives and approaches, enabling them with the right tools and resources as well as empowering them to innovate collaboratively. Read More »

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