Cisco Seeks To Reinvent Itself
No company wants to be the IT industry's Smith-Corona, the typewriter manufacturer that failed to see the market changing around it. We think Cisco was the most aggressive company in the industry this year in redefining and remaking itself to keep up with a fast-changing market.
Cisco CEO John Chambers (pictured) identified "the Internet of Everything" as the next major stage of evolution of the Web and networking. To stay on top of that Cisco acquired startup Insieme Networks and its application-centric infrastructure technology. Other acquisitions that signaled Cisco's outside-the-box thinking included Whiptail (solid-state memory technology), Intucell (mobile networking technology) and Collaborate.com (mobile collaboration). Adjusting to change can be painful: In August, Cisco said it would lay off 4,000 employees or about 5 percent of its workforce, in an effort to stay nimble in fast-moving areas like mobility and cloud computing. And at year-end, the company warned of slower long-term growth. As Chambers is so fond of saying: "Market transitions wait for no one."