Another Cisco Exec Jumps Ship To Cloud-Focused Vendor

Cloud-based contact-center solutions specialist Five9 has nabbed longtime Cisco executive Mike Crane, who started his new job Tuesday as executive vice president of services.

Crane was with the San Jose, Calif.-based networking giant for 18 years, most recently as Cisco's vice president of advanced services, where he managed the enterprise, commercial and public sector segments.

"I saw that more and more enterprise customers were looking at how to take advantage of cloud-based solutions versus having on-premise equipment, and one of the areas we see growing is around call center," said Crane in an interview with CRN. "That's why I wanted to come to Five9, because they are a leading player in this area. I thought, how I could leverage what I'd done at Cisco from a services standpoint and apply that at Five9?"

[Related: Top Cisco Sales Exec Leaves For Wireless Competitor Aerohive]

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Crane said he saw an opportunity by joining the San Ramon, Calif.-based company, where he could provide a "unique," higher-end engagement with end users who want cloud-based solutions.

"I saw this as an opportunity to be a leading provider of contact solutions and be part of that success, and actually grow a services business similar to what I had done at Cisco," he said. "[At Cisco], it was more of providing services around on-premise equipment that was in a data center, … but the customers couldn’t see or feel it. Here, we're providing solutions customers see and feel."

Crane is not the only former longtime Cisco executive to start a new job this week.

On Monday, Tom Wilburn started his new position as senior vice president of worldwide sales at Aerohive Networks, a wireless competitor of Cisco's. Wilburn was Cisco's vice president of global enterprise networking sales, responsible for routing, switching and wireless products sales. He had been with the company for a decade and was a key leader in the integration of Meraki after its acquisition by Cisco in 2012.

Wilburn took the job after he witnessed customers transitioning to the cloud, he said.

Like Wilburn, Crane is looking toward the cloud: "I see cloud as being the next generation of what the Internet wave was in the late 1990s," he said.

Crane is hoping to continue Five9's shift from targeting SMBs to focusing more toward enterprise customers, he said.

Five9 is a leading provider of cloud contact center software and can help organizations of all sizes transition from premises-based solutions to the cloud, according to the company.