New CEO Robbins: Cisco Will Become Very Different Company

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2015-10-09 Print this article Print

Robbins Introduced to International Media Group

Robbins, 49, made his first appearance as CEO to a group of about 75 invited media members at the editors' meetup. He delivered a brief, straight-from-the-monitor overview of the company and later answered a few questions from reporters, including one from yours truly about how Cisco will be impacted by open-systems competitors, such as HP (with its new OpenSwitch network OS).

"We see a lot of unique use cases, and we're supporting them where it makes sense," Robbins said in answer to eWEEK. "But we do not have religion long term about how this issue plays out. There will be places where our rich software will run on x86 platforms—it's happening today with virtual managed services and in search providers—and we're going to support that. We also see our rich feature sets sitting on top of high-performance ASICs.

"As we build these orchestrations, they will be open northbound for programmers to write to; they also will be open southbound, so that if a customer wanted to have another vendor's security device infrastructure, we would need to have that orchestration capability to apply that same intelligence to those devices as well. We are very committed to being very open across all those technology areas."

Other than the brief Q&A session and a short visit with Quentin Hardy of The New York Times, Robbins didn't engage much with media members. In fact, he was on a plane before the day was done as other activities were still being conducted on the company's San Jose headquarters campus.

Cisco Will Become 'a Very Different Company'

Robbins told the Times that Cisco Systems will become a very different company by slowly moving from selling individual switches and routers to integrated, software-defined, automated components. This is mandatory for new applications to be deployed faster, thus creating numerous new business use cases, he said.

"Companies do not want to be in the business of putting things together," Robbins said. "A massively distributed network is where we are headed."

Robbins filed an overview of his intentions in a blog published the same day. It's a given that every customer is using technology to enable his/her business, Robbins wrote.

"Some customers view technology as a real differentiator for their business, and the most progressive define their strategy in the context of what technology makes possible. In doing so, they drive competitive differentiation and, in many cases, define new business models," Robbins said.

"Our opportunity is clear: Cisco can be the most strategic partner to cities, countries and all of our customers on this digital journey. Frankly, every organization recognizes the transformative power that technology can provide, but our research shows that only 25 percent of companies and governments say they have a plan to execute on that opportunity. These organizations that have a plan need our help to deliver the ultimate benefits. The remaining 75 percent need our help in clearly defining the opportunity that exists for each one of them."

eWEEK will continue to keep you up-to-date on developments at the world's largest IT networking provider as it undergoes a major transition.


Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK. Twitter: @editingwhiz
Join us for our next eWEEKChat Oct. 14: "Can They Pivot: Huge Challenges Facing Legacy IT Companies."


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