Is Cisco Falling Behind in Innovation (or Just in PR)?
In terms of innovation, 2016 did not seem like a big year for #Cisco. The company might be doing lots of cool stuff, internally, but it’s keeping most of it secret if that’s the case. So, is Cisco slipping on innovation?
According to some analysts who cover the company, Cisco is doing fine with innovation. It’s just been distracted in 2016 as its new CEO Chuck Robbins reorganizes the company’s business units.
“My viewpoint is: Robbins has been turning the company around,” says independent analyst and co-founder of Packet Pushers Greg Ferro. “Cisco needs to fix itself internally before it can innovate.”
And analyst Michael Howard with IHS, says, “I doubt they are lacking in innovation, but maybe they are getting a good story together.”
New CEOs often make executive changes, and Robbins has certainly done that. The shuffling began even before he officially became CEO. Some of the most startling changes happened this summer when the famed MPLS team, consisting of Mario Mazzola, Prem Jain, Luca Cafiero, and Soni Jiandani, resigned. The team was in charge of Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI).
And Cisco’s head of security David Goeckeler got promoted to head of both security and networking, becoming responsible for $32 billion of the company’s business.
In an example of the internal shifting, Goeckeler recently announced via a corporate blog that Cisco has created an “integrated next-generation data center team” led by Roland Acra, who rejoined Cisco as SVP/GM of the company’s Data Center Business Group.
“Acra’s group will include all data center switching products,” including the families of Nexus hardware switches, UCS, SAN, and “associated products and programs,” wrote Goeckeler. “We will consolidate all of the NXOS development team under this group as well.”
Ferro says the new data center group effectively “mashes five or six business units together,” including ACI.