LAS VEGAS — Cisco Systems CEO Chuck Robbins opened his Networld+Interop keynote with the stark reminder that technology is not only vital to business, but also “to humanity.” He then laid out the company’s goal: To help customers all over the world have an easier time managing their systems. Robbins covered a wide variety of topics and areas, but kept returning to that core theme. In a recent interview with our sister publication Corporate Board Member, he elaborated on the details.
In a time of economic uncertainty, most companies are tightening their belts. In the tech sector, it’s not uncommon to see companies freeze hiring or lay off employees. However, Cisco’s belt-tightening may seem odd for a company with such lofty ambitions.
Cisco, which is one of the largest private employers in the Research Triangle Park area, has a reputation for being a big player in networking equipment and software. But the company is also making a major shift into security and the Internet of Things. In an attempt to boost revenue, Cisco has been focusing on these new markets.
But this strategy has not been without its challenges. As a result, the company’s stock price has slipped in the past year. In the third quarter of this year, sales were up just 1%, and profits were flat. Nevertheless, Cisco still reported better-than-expected earnings and raised its full-year sales forecast.
Robbins credits this strength to three factors. The first is continued success in moving towards subscriptions and recurring revenues. The second is the growth opportunity in security. The third is generative AI, which could help Cisco’s security tools automatically detect and fix problems by correlating data on technology disruptions and rerouting connections.
For instance, the company’s new 58,000-square-foot Manhattan office is designed for collaboration. Its meeting rooms are equipped with the latest video conference technology, including a camera that follows the speaker and points to them. Robbins says this helps ensure that people working remotely are not missing out on the important interactions.
During the interview, Robbins also touched on Cisco’s commitment to India. He says that the country is making “tons of progress” on digitisation, and the energy he felt during his trip was incredible. He is confident that Cisco will continue to grow its presence in the market.
Robbins is confident that the company will continue to thrive in this climate, and he has plans for expansions across its global footprint. He believes that the current economic slowdown will lead to increased opportunities for technology companies that can scale efficiently and offer a secure, affordable network infrastructure. In addition, he expects the demand for cloud computing to increase as more businesses move to the digital platform. The company is already expanding its footprint in the cloud and plans to double the number of locations it has in India by 2023. This will allow the company to meet customer demand more effectively. In addition, Cisco has started a new manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu.