Chuck Robbins Continues to Rewire Cisco
Since the day he took the CEO position at Cisco, Chuck Robbins has been shuffling the executive cards at Cisco. Last week, he continued to re-tool the company by adding a couple of new people and reorganizing other groups. Here is a summary of the changes and the impact to Cisco.
Cisco's Internet of Things (IoT) portfolio (formerly under Rowan Trollope's purview) and the AppDynamics team will transition to David Goeckeler and be part of the Networking and Security Group. Given the data and insights that AppD generates, one could argue it should always have been part of this group, as it can be used as a core component of Cisco's security strategy and its Network Intuitive intent-based network solution. When AppD was purchased by Cisco in January 2017, one of Cisco's security leaders told me at the time that he felt it belonged in the security group, so perhaps its in a better home now.
As for IoT moving over, this was a bit of a surprise, but it's more an indicator that IoT is moving out of the early adopter phase into the mainstream. Now that it's being operationalized, Cisco needs to ensure its network and security products have the right hooks and levers to enable its customers to accelerate IoT adoption and for the Cisco network to be leveraged. This also helps align IoT with Susie Wee's DevNet activities.
As for Rowan Trollope, the Cisco leader with whom the UC industry is most familiar, he will continue to push the Collaboration business unit into new directions. The competitiveness in collaboration is going to be kicked up a notch in the next few years as artificial intelligence (AI) becomes a bigger part of changing how we work. And, no doubt, Rowan's vision and leadership is needed here.
Trollope will also be leading Cisco's charge into new technologies, which is ideal for him, as there is no one at Cisco better at taking things that are complicated and technical, and making them easy for people to understand and easy for customers to deploy and consume. The first action item on his agenda will be taking the work that has been started by Hilton Romanski's team on blockchain and bring it to the next level. In my discussion with Cisco leaders I have brought up blockchain a number of times and urged them to lead this market instead of letting other vendors control the narrative. This happened with SDN and SD-WAN, and it's important for Cisco to get out in front of it this time.
What might Cisco be looking to use blockchain for? This week provided a hint of one possible use case, as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office released a patent application that Cisco filed in December 2017, which describes how the company would use blockchain technology to better secure group messaging, Smartereum reported.
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